'Shades Of Greene' was an I.T.V. anthology series based on the works of Graham Greene. The episode which most sticks in my mind was the last of the first season - 'The Destructors' - which was adapted by the recently deceased John Mortimer and directed by Michael Apted.
Set in '50's Britain, it tells the story of Trevor ( Nicholas Drake ), a young grammar school boy, who is both unloved by his parents and friendless. His main hobby is British military history.
Trevor is keen to be 'a big fish in a small pond' and so he becomes a member of a gang of ruffians ( among them a pre-'Quadrophenia' Phil Daniels ). He does not fit in with them initially. They laugh at his posh-sounding name, necessitating a change to the harder sounding 'Big T'. Trevor comes up with a plan - namely to break into the home of an old age pensioner when he is away on holiday and trash the place.
This they do. Cups are broken, books torn up, pictures smashed, even the old man's war medals are callously stamped on. Everything the man ever owned is destroyed. Throughout the carnage, Trevor is in full command, spurring his 'army' on to ever greater acts of vandalism.
When the old man returns, he is understandably horrified, but as there were no witnesses no-one is formally charged.
Trevor returns to school. The gang follows him there and yell at him through the railings, demanding more leadership, but he completely ignores them. His moment of glory is over.
There were protests galore when this was first screened. Many felt it was an incitement to youngsters to commit copy-cat crimes. It did not happen though as 'Shades Of Greene' had little appeal for the young. I recall being shocked at the trashing of the old man's home - it had a savagery that I had never seen on television before. These boys were determined to destroy everything he valued, and did so. And no-one got caught or punished for it.
The political subtext was plain for all to see. By wrecking the old man's house, Trevor and his gang were in effect conducting their own 'revolution' against the establishment. However one wished to interpret it, 'The Destructors' was a disturbing and memorable piece of television.
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