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Villains (ITV 1972, Bob Hoskins, Martin Shaw)



London Weekend Television

Villains was a smart anthology style series of dramas looking at the criminal classes that focused on a group of crooks given the none too salubrious nick-name “The Bog Robbers” after they broke into a bank vault via a block of toilets.

The episodes are basically stand alone but there was a kind of linking device (on their way to the appeal court the gang stage a mass break out) that holds everything together (most of the time anyway) with each story focused on the attempts of each villain to stay free.

Very cleverly done with story lines often re-appearing throughout the series but from another characters point of view.

Speaking in the TV Times (14 Oct 1972) at the end of the show’s run producer Andrew Brown said “as you can see, most of the villains don’t benefit by their escape. But I tried to make the series an objective one which asked some important questions underneath. The villains in this series were professional thieves in a class of their own. Just like the working class or the middle class.”

The casting was pretty strong throughout and included the likes of a young(ish) Bob Hoskins, Martin Shaw, Bryan Marshall, Hilary Dwyer, David Daker, Alun Armstrong, Michael Culver, Sharon Duce, Paul Eddington and Cheryl Hall.

production details
UK / ITV – London Weekend Television / 13 x 60 minute episodes / AIRDATES: 22 July – 14 October 1972

Creator and Producer: Andrew Brown

1. GEORGE (22 July 1972)
3. COMMANDER (5 August 1972)
4. CHAS (12 August 1972)
5. ALICE SHEREE (19 August 1972)
6. SAND DANCER (26 August 1972)
7. BELINDA (2 September 1972)
8. MOVE IN, MOVE ON (9 September 1972)
9. KNOCKER (16 September 1972)
10. BERNIE (23 September 1972)
11. SMUDGER (30 September 1972)
12. GRASS (7 October 1972)
13. BILLY BOY (14 October 1972)