Gangsters (BBC Drama, Maurice Colbourne, Saeed Jaffrey)

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 (Maurice Colbourne) 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 Birmingham low life.

RELATED:   BBC Proms 2024: How to Watch and Listen

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.

Cast: 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

RELATED:   BBC's "TechXplore" Goes Behind the Scenes of the Olympics and Paralympics, Airing on BBC News

Writer: Philip Martin / Music: Dave Greenslade / Theme Sung By: Chris Farlowe / Producer: Dave Rose

UK / BBC One / 13×50 minute episodes / 9 January 1975 and 9 September 1976 – 10 February 1978

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.