Broadcast in the summer of 1974, London Weekend Television's 'Thick As Thieves' is one of Dick Clement and Ian LaFrenais' least-remembered sitcoms, mainly because it was overshadowed by their other shows of that period - 'Whatever Happened To The Likely Lads?' and 'Porridge'. It was popular at the time, despite being based on a somewhat controversial premise.
Inept criminal George Dobbs ( the then-unknown Bob Hoskins ) emerges from prison following a three-year sentence for burglary. He goes home to Fulham, where wife Annie ( the gorgeous Pat Ashton ) lives. But he has a shock in store - his best friend Stanley ( John Thaw ) has moved in. Her head is full of feminist ideas she read in a magazine while at the dentist, and she refuses to end the relationship. Stanley, on the other hand, is understanding, and agrees to move out the next day. But things do not go according to plan...
Three years before Johnnie Mortimer and Brian Cooke offended Mrs.Mary Whitehouse's sensibilities by having 'Robin Tripp' living in sin with 'Vicky Nicholls' in the first series of 'Robin's Nest', Clement and La Frenais paired Annie Dobbs with her husband's best mate. Also in the cast are Reg Lye ( the only Australian to ever make a living out of playing Cockneys ) and future 'Mike Baldwin' Johnny Briggs as one of Dobbs' cronies. Looked at now the show can be regarded as a dry run for Dick and Ian's later 'Going Straight', in which Ronnie Barker's Fletcher also left stir to go home to a less-than warm welcome.
When this episode was repeated by Channel 4 in 1991 as part of their 'T.V. Heaven' series, Frank Muir noted that Hoskins was good in his role, John Thaw less so. I agree. Thaw looks distinctly uncomfortable as a half-witted crook, the sort of character which, in an earlier era, would probably have been played by Bernard Bresslaw.
Eight episodes were made. The show is available on D.V.D.
Funniest moment - Annie extolling Stanley's virtues to her husband. "He's one of life's do-ers!". He replies: "Well, he's been doing you, hasn't he?".
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