It is great that 'Charles Endell Esquire' has become a hit on 'You Tube' thirty one years after its I.T.V. debut. We can but hope that a D.V.D. release is on the cards for next year. But what of the show that started it all - 'Budgie'? The first episode - 'Out' - begins with Ronald 'Budgie' Bird ( the late Adam Faith ), small-time crook, newly released from an open prison. Given a lift by a van driver ( Budgie pretends to be a prison officer ), he notices the man has a habit of leaving the keys to his van in the ignition while he goes for dinner. He is carrying expensive perfumes, worth a lot on the open market. After reacquainting himself with his old girlfriend, model Hazel Fletcher ( Lynn Dalby ), Budgie borrows money from Soho strip club king Charlie Endell ( Iain Cuthbertson ). The ebullient Glaswegian has a job for his friend - to act as minder to Charity ( Adrienne Posta ), a 15 year stripper from Salford with a fondness for crisps ( excepting cheese and onion flavour ). With the girl in tow, Budgie plots to steal the van the next time it is outside the roadside café. Unfortunately, he has as an accomplice an Irishman named Grogan ( Rio Fanning ), who makes 'Father Dougal McGuire' of 'Father Ted' look like Professor Stephen Hawking. Thanks to Grogan's incompetence, Budgie steals the wrong van...
A terrific episode, boasting a script that crackles like a new five pound note and a cast perfectly equipped to do justice to it. It sets up a pattern that would become a familiar one in the weeks to come - Budgie plots a big scam only for it to go badly wrong. The van Budgie makes off with contains not perfumes, but pornographic books withdrawn from sale by the Vice Squad. Budgie cannot even sell them to Charlie as they have been banned, so he and Grogan make a bonfire on a cricket pitch. As the books burn, a strong wind blows the burning pages across a wide area. To make matters worse, the cricketers show up a day early.
Get this - steak and chips was 32 and a half new pence in 1971! That sum would not pay for a solitary chip now.
Posta makes a convincing 15 year old. The bubbly actress seemed to be everywhere around this time - from the film version of 'Up Pompeii' to the 'Lulu' show.
Funniest moment - Budgie has told Grogan to distract the driver while he makes off with the van. The man's favourite subject is capital punishment so Grogan introduces himself with the words: "Its a long time since they hanged anyone in this country, isn't it?" prompting a baffled look from the man.
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