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Muck and Brass (ITV 1982, Mel Smith, Jim Bowen)

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Mel Smith is superb in a rare straight role in well remembered TV drama Muck and Brass playing Tom Craig, a clever, opportunistic developer who very quickly rises to a position of power in the West Midlands town of Slatterly.

Muck and Brass revolves around corruption and power politics, it’s gloomy and authentic settings range from strip clubs to conference rooms. After a modest start, Tom Craig manages to take control of most of the key sites in Slatterly. To achieve this, he uses all kinds of tricks: unscrupulous councillors, planners and local entrepreneurs are just pawns in his game. Craig’s opponents include unscrupulous John Roman, the head of a competing company that has a personal grudge against him, and conservative council president Maurice Taylor, who is determined to ensure that Slatterly Hall is not exposed to accusations of corruption.

The casting is excellent too, comedian Jim Bowen also proves his acting chops and former wrestler Johnny Allan is one of Craig’s key rivals. James Faulkner and Lindsay Duncan are also amongst the prominent names appearing.

The series was made by Central for the ITV Network and it aired in 1982 and ran for 6×60 minute episodes. The scripts were by Tom Clarke and the directors were Martin Campbell and Marek Kanievska.

Cast: Mel Smith, Darian Angadi, Lindsay Duncan, James Faulkner, Jim Bowen, Johnny Allan,