After two successful seasons, 'Budgie' bowed out in style with this final instalment, neatly bringing together plot threads and characters from earlier shows. Not only has Budge seemingly impregnated two women at once - Hazel ( Lynn Dalby ) and buxom stripper Inga ( Margaret Nolan ) - but gangster Charlie Endell wants him dead. Why? Because the cardigan Budge gave Mrs.Endell was stolen, and on visiting the department store it came from, she was apprehended by detective Shepherd ( George A.Cooper ). Angered, Charlie sends his thugs after Budgie. Our hero searches for somewhere to find, but wife Jean ( Georgina Hale ) has - rather improbably - run off with a gay man, Hazel does not want to know, Inga plans on going to work in a Beirut nightclub, and on returning to the family home he discovers that his mother has died and that Dad ( George Tovey ) not only did not tell him but is now shacked up with another woman ( Gretchen Franklin ). After a heated row, Mr.Bird telephones Charlie Endell to tell him where his son can be found...
Budgie's mauling at the hands of Endell's goons provoked complaints from viewers. We don't actually see it happen, but the sight of his battered, bruised face was enough to cause upset. The title of my review refers to Inga's Bugs Bunny toy which Laughing Spam Fritter ( John Rhys-Davies ) destroys in his quest for knowledge of Budgie's location. Our very last sighting of the man is of him talking briefly to the toy - which he compares to himself - before throwing it away and heading off to an uncertain future.
Faith revived the 'Budgie' character in a stage musical in the '80's, with future 'Eastenders' star Anita Dobson replacing Lynn Dalby in the role of 'Hazel'. Charlie Endell landed his own ( brief ) spin-off series in 1979 which was, alas, curtailed by the I.T.V. strike. The series reached a new audience in 1984 when it was belatedly repeated on Channel 4. 'Budgie' encapsulates the decade more than any number of factually-distorted 'retro' documentaries could ever hope to.
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