|Index||3 reviews in total|
I remember seeing this series in 1969 and the controversy it created.
It was something I had to see each week for the extraordinary energy of
Peter Egan's central performance and the break-through violence that
permeated the series. 33 years on my memories are very vague and I have
not heard of the series since.
The attacks in the tabloid press were severe, does it still exist? Or was it wiped? It is amazing to see that Apted and Newell were responsible for the series direction, not something that meant much to me when I was 15!
Recent addition to comment. The DVD of the series was released in March 2007.
A chance for a re-assessment.
The previous commentator needn't worry any more: all 8 episodes of Big
Breadwinner Hog have been released on DVD. Tough gangster stories have
been in fashion for years, and this release should please any friend of
"Get Carter" and those Guy Ritchie movies. Many classic 60's shows have
disappointed me, but the Hog has stood the test of time well: I
consider it one of the very best 60's TV dramas.
I've never heard of the writer/producer Robin Chapman before. After seeing this and his earlier gangster saga, Spindoe, I am really impressed by his work. He manages to write violent and tough, yet theatrically literate and intelligent drama. In fact his background is in theater.
Big Breadwinner Hog (Peter Egan) ignites a gangland war in a big city, just like Spindoe before him. He is a violent mod, full of arrogance and energy. The series gives just about equal time to the desperate misadventures of the drunk ex-mercenary Ackerman (Donald Burton). On top of the criminal hierarchy sits the methodically minded sadist Lennox (Timothy West). All three give good performances (Burton may be on the verge of overacting), especially Timothy West is magnificent.
The clashes of these three personalities make for some exciting and entertaining viewing. The show is infamous for its violence, and the characters sure bleed more than in other British (or American) TV shows of the time. There is, however, dark humor as well. In fact the victim of the famous acid attack provides the comic relief in the next episode! This mixing of humor into the darkest moments should be something familiar to modern viewers.
All in all, Big Breadwinner Hog is a great show. Unfortunately it is a bit cheaply produced compared to shows like The Saint. If you can overlook such trivialities, I strongly recommend watching it. I wonder if others enjoy this as much as I did?
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This hung in the back of my mind somewhere, as a kid at the end of the
'sixties - where had I heard of this programme's title/name? A parent?
! Teacher... in the street? Even in the playground?!?!?
My inquisitive mind, on finding it out on release on the web, along with some other programme included in the purchase, entitled 'Spindoe' which I'm not familiar with, made me buy it.
I wasn't disappointed though... a cocky, hard, flash, arrogant and unforgiving young Peter Egan, brushes aside any morality, takes on any risky job of robbery, including no-holds barred violence and works his way up through the ranks of Lennox's (Timothy West) criminal empire of 'Scot-Yanks' and the aspiration to remove Lennox rather than work for him.
Even Timothy West as the suave but unforgiving gangster surprises. There's ample support also from a more 'working- class' Donald Burton in the firing line. Burton had played Captain Nialls (later) in the TV series 'Warship' and was also married to Carroll Baker, yes, she of 'The Big Country'. I'm not saying Egan hasn't excelled but he's never done anything better here in my mind and maybe he was offered other roles after this in this vein that he may have even turned down (who knows?) but he'd be a right 'Ray Winstone' in typecasting by now!!!!
As the previous reviewer says, if you can overlook the black-and-white cheapish TV production values, which makes it appear like it's filmed in your own front room with a video camera and the 'sixties background music etc., Egan's performance alone will impress you and make it all worthwhile. It's so different in that aspect from even just five years later from 'The Sweeney' or anything expensively-American of course.
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