Chirpy Cockney petty crook 'Budgie' Bird is the main character in this British TV series of the early 70s. Budgie was the eternal failure, with every scam, and every attempt to make his ... See full summary »
Chirpy Cockney petty crook 'Budgie' Bird is the main character in this British TV series of the early 70s. Budgie was the eternal failure, with every scam, and every attempt to make his fortune landing him further and further into trouble, either with the police, or with his untrustworthy sometime boss, the cynical Charlie Endell, a respectable club owner on the surface, and underworld villain below it. All attempts to put Budgie on the 'straight and narrow' by his girlfriend and awful ex-wife were in vain, and with an unflappable optimism, he bounced in and out of prison on a regular basis as the series progressed. Written by
Budgie (or 'The Loser', as it was originally intended to be called) was a big hit with audiences back in 1971/2. It gave 60's songster Adam Faith, another chance at stardom, and led him on an interesting career as an actor. The show highlighted a certain (jailbird/chancer/petty thief/lovable rogue) Ronald 'Budgie' Bird, and his frequent (yet never successful) attempts to make 'easy' money. His futile attempts are also thwarted, due to his connection with Glasweigan sex shop owner/crime boss Charlie Endell (played brilliantly by Iain Cuthbertson) who constantly hangs over Budgie, depriving him of any earnings, and always coming out on top. His henchman, Laughing Spam Fritter (great name) is also menacingly portrayed by John Rhys-Davies. Given Endells questionable background, yet his (seemingly) respectable 'public' facade, the series has a lot to say about class system (or at very least, the idea of a class system) than it does about petty crime in the seventies. Budgie is not without redeeming features, and the one good thing in his life, is (his ever put upon girl-fiend/mother of his child) Hazell (another great down to earth performance by Lynne Dalby.) She constantly stands by her man (even when he seemingly leaves her for other women) yet receives little or no thanks for her endeavours. The show (in it's 26 episode run, in 2 series) covers a lot of ground, and also features some great guest cameos (including: John Thaw, Gordon Jackson, Derek Jacobi and James Bolam, to name but a few) Some (if not most) times this show has a certain comedic flow to it, yet other times, it takes on a darker sinister edge (mostly due to the sometime psychotic rages of Charlie Endell) but all in all, it's not only a great seventies time capsule, but (still to this very day) a highly moving and involving television show, that was long overdue a repeat in the UK (it's last and only repeat, being on Channel 4 circa 1985) but it seems the great minds at Network DVD have put together a excellent release of series 1 & 2 (Series two, also has some great special features)
Highlights from series one are: Out, Grandee Hotel, Everybody Loves A Baby, Sunset Mansions.
Highlights from series two are: And The Lord Taketh Away, Do Me A Favour, Twenty-Four Thousand Ball Point Pens, King For A day, Brief Encounter, Run Rabbit, Run Rabbit, Run, Run, Run
All in all, a great series. Hopefully Network DVD can release the rarely seen 1979 spin off 'Charlie Endell Esq' in the near future?
10 out of 10 (and surprisingly, the first comment, on this great show)
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