Very well remembered crime drama series Gangsters began life as an entry in the Play For Today strand of single plays in 1975 following former SAS agent John Kline as he is released from prison and getting involved in the Birmingham underworld.
In the series Kline is the manager of The Maverick nightclub but in reality works for government agency DI6 keeping tabs on the drugs, crime and terrorism that is apparently rife in the area.
Never before had a regional city been portrayed in such a vicious fashion, Kline is at the centre of a world inhabited by pretty much every minority going and the series pulled no punches (and attracted a fair amount of criticism in the process) in its portrayal of Birmingam low life.
Superbly written by Philip Martin (who also wrote himself a role in the series) and with a great central performance from Maurice Colbourne here a world away from his 1980’s turn as the laid back boat boat builder Tom Howard in Howard’s Way. Gangsters also presented a rare opportunity for some of Britain’s best ethnic actors to shine in leading roles.
UK | BBC1
RUNNING TIME: 50 minutes | NUMBER OF EPISODES: 13 | AIRDATES: 9 January 1975 and 9 September 1976 – 10 February 1978
WRITER: Philip Martin | MUSIC: Dave Greenslade | THEME SUNG BY: Chris Farlowe | PRODUCER: Dave Rose
MAURICE COLBOURNE as John Kline
AHMED KHALIL as Khan
ELIZABETH CASSIDY as Anne Darracott
PAUL ANTRIM as Dermot Macavoy
PAUL BARBER as Malleson
ALIBE PARSONS as Sarah Grant
SAEED JAFFREY as Rafiq
PHILIP MARTIN as Rawlinson
CHAI LEE as Lily Li Tang
ROBERT LEE as Shen Tang
KAHJOO CHUA as Red Stick
ZIA MOYHEDDIN as Iqbal Khan
PLAY FOR TODAY (9 Jan 1975)
SEASON ONE 6 January – 10 February 1976
1. INCIDENT ONE (6 Jan 1976)
2. INCIDENT TWO (13 Jan 1976)
3. INCIDENT THREE (20 Jan 1976)
4. INCIDENT FOUR (27 Jan 1976)
5. INCIDENT FIVE (3 Feb 1976)
6. INCIDENT SIX (10 Feb 1976)
SEASON TWO 6 January – 10 February 1978
1. THE DICTATES OF SHEN TANG (6 Jan 1978)
2. THE RED EXECUTIONER (13 Jan 1978)
3. WHILE BEAUTY SLEEPS (20 Jan 1978)
4. DOUBLE PERIL (27 Jan 1978)
5. ENTER THE WHITE DEVIL (3 Feb 1978)
6. EAST OF THE EQUATOR (10 Feb 1978)
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