Villains: Smudger (ITV 30 Sep 1972, with Jim Norton)

When Eddie Smedley aka Smudger escaped with the rest of the “Bog Robbers” he almost didn’t go through with it. Now he has escaped he has taken refuge with two old pals Sam and Benny. Of course their real motivation is to get their hands on Smudger’s £30,000 – his share of the robbery. Smudger though has already given the money to someone to look after for his son.

Flashbacks show how Smedley’s “career” started at a very young age spending much of his youth in Borstal and how he met George (leader of the gang) in prison many years before. Smudger has has spent so much time in prison that he can’t actually cope with being on the outside.

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A pretty sad episode all in all with a strong performance from Jim Norton as Smudger, it’s another episode that’s heavy on the flashbacks but they do work as each look back unwraps another layer of what makes Smudger tick.

There are a couple of great performances too from a cast against type Timothy West as petty villain Benny and a playing to type Alan Lake as his “oppo” Sam.

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production details
UK / ITV – London Weekend Television / 1×50 minute episode / Broadcast Saturday 30 September 1972

Writer: Jonathan Hales / Production Design: Frank Nerini / Director: Jim Goddard

Series: Villains Episode 11 (of 13)

Jim Norton as Smedley
David Daker as George
Timothy West as Benny
Alan Lake as Sam
Vicky Ireland as Margot
Dorothy White as Irene
Jean Marlowe as Woman in Cafe
Alan Cullen as Magistrate
Linda Renwick as Probation Officer
Malcolm Rogers as Schoolmaster
Eric Mason as Borstal Master
Liz McKenzie as Smedley’s Mother
Stanley McGeach as Vicar
Paul Brandon as Boy Smedley
Herbert Norville as Borstal Boy
Patricia Fletcher as Little Girl

Alastair James is the editor in chief for Memorable TV. He has been involved in media since his university days. Alastair is passionate about television, and some of his favourite shows include Line of Duty, Luther and Traitors. He is always on the lookout for hot new shows, and is always keen to share his knowledge with others.