|Index||6 reviews in total|
Civvies is an excellent, gripping drama about a groups of ex-paratroopers
who leave army life to start a security firm. The 6 parts revolve around
bombing of a pub when they were in Belfast.
Jason Isaacs plays Frank Dillon, a real anti-hero, who has to deal with life in civilian (civvies) clothes.
There are also notable performances by Peter O'Toole and Peter Howitt (from UK TV Show Bread - the first "Joey").
In the early 90s Lynda La Plante was hot property thanks to Prime
Suspect and prolific as she is as a write, this was her BBC TV debut as
a writer. La Plante admitted that her research showed that the life of
the ex servicemen does not tend to be a happy one with some entering
the life of crime, addiction, prison, break up in marriages and so this
may not be destined to end up as happy ever after.
The series is about a group of ex-paratroopers who enter the world of private security whilst being tempted by a gangster played by Peter O'Toole with a mock cockney accent to do a shady job.
There are constant flashbacks to a pub explosion in Belfast which has left a legacy behind.
This series was the first time people saw Jason Isaacs and we have a heartfelt performance from Peter Howitt who plays a wounded colleague of the gang.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
A strange and esoteric piece of work that came out roughly the same time as another controversial tale,that was screened about the RAF. Civvies was a booster launch pad show for, the fabulous and talented Jason Isaacs, now a massive star. The ending was strange, I did not get it, maybe it was not my genre'. Being an ex-serviceman, I sympathise with the story of lost desolation, coupled with a rough tough attitude, about the boring mundaneness off civvy street, after service life. I cant understand why this show is not repeated but I do know why. Give it another go Beeb! You might get a whole new perspective view, on a good piece of work.
I sat up once a week every week to watch this show with my brother. We were addicted to it. My brother was only 15 at the time and he was so enamoured with the programme he decided to join the army and become a para. This he did and thoroughly enjoyed himself! We used to be allowed to sit in the front room and watch each episode in peace without the other siblings annoying us! We were never sure where the story was going but we guessed that at some point there was going to be a bit of double crossing and that Frank would get stitched up. My brother missed the final episode as he was out but he made me tape it for him and then guarded the video with his life until he could watch it. Maybe it was our age and we were young and impressionable but i can honestly say that I haven't enjoyed a BBC serial as much as this one and I do not understand why the BBC have never released it on VHS or DVD ( or repeated it )!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
***** CONTAINS POSSIBLE MILD SPOILERS *****
CIVVIES is a completely over the top melodrama about some veterans from The British Parachute Regiment who find peace unbearable . It had the potential to be a fairly good drama but the fact that the writer , director , and actors have had no military experience really shines through , the former paras salute a comrade who is arrested and led away to start a probable life sentence . What`s wrong with that ? well the paras are out of uniform and have no head dress . Even someone in the army cadet force can tell you that in The British Army weather in uniform or out never ever salute without head dress . They do it in the American Army though , I know this because I`ve seen lots of Hollywood movies and it`s obvious the military advice for CIVVIES came via Hollywood . The soldiers here are parodies of all those marines found in butch John Wayne films except they talk with British accents , they have drink problems , and are very violent pieces of work in a laughable over the top way . And the violence here is completely over the top . One episode features a fight scene that last several minutes and has to be seen to be believed , no human beings could withstand that type of punishment . Oh and there`s a sub plot about the squaddies tracking down a suspected IRA man who killed six of their mates in a pub bombing and dish out some summary and highly illegal justice . But don`t worry if you dislike vigilantes because what goes around comes around.
Perhaps the best tribute to this laughable series was paid by THE HARRY ENFIELD SHOW which featured a sketch called DIVVIES where half a dozen murderous looking men sit in a pub
First Divvie : I can`t stand it Frank . I`ve got to kill someone
Frank : You don`t kill anyone untill I say you do ( Second Divvy appears and gives Frank a packet of crisps )
Frank :You let me down in Ireland and you let me down here . I ordered you to get cheese and onion and you got salt and vinegar
Second Divvy : Sorry Frank ( Pulls out pistol and sticks it into his own mouth ) I love you Frank ( Pulls trigger and blows his head off )
Does that give you an idea as to whats wrong with CIVVIES ?
I'm beginning to believe that 1992 could be the nadir of British
television. We seemed to have been bombarded with a whole heap of
leaden paced anti-establishment "drama" and Civvies is possibly the
There's terrible over-acting from all concerned. Jason Issacs looks more like Prince Barin in "Flash Gordon" and Peter O'Toole isn't an East End gangster. O'Toole is a brilliant actor, the best of his generation and cruelly denied an Oscar but he's no cockney gangster. No one comes across as convincing in any way, and the "action" and fight scenes are so poorly done. Is this from the same country that gave us "The Sweeny", "The Professionals" and "Target"? La Plante's script will have you believe that all ex-army soldiers are psychopathic time bombs waiting to go off in civilian life. The cop show "Between the Lines" stuck the knife in to the police and "Civvies" tries to do the same for the army. TV producers and networks back then just seemed to hate any government organisation and so gave us these shows. Have they forgotten that these people are responsible for saving lives and protecting their safety?
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