Please Remind Yourself Of The Context When It Was Made
Dixie Dean claims unemployment benefit while working on the side as a security guard down Liverpool docks . Finding himself getting bribed to turn a blind eye while a local group of robbers steal from the ships he starts getting menacing phone calls . If none of this is bad enough he finds himself being investigated by benefit fraud officers who have recently been very successful in catching Dixie's erstwhile workmates
This seems to be the forgotten episode of the series and Dixie Dean as played by Tom Georgeson doesn't seem as well remembered as the other characters from the show . This is a pity because despite this episode never being a masterwork of social realist drama it still is a very solid piece of poignant black comedy
Unlike the character of Yosser Hughes the audience are supposed to easily relate to the characters in this show with Dixie this is very easy to do . I can see something of myself in him and I'm sure anyone who has experienced the dole can see the same . It's very easy to become bitter and Dixie is a bitter man at the hand has dealt him but still holds a modicum of self respect and pride . There does seem to be an element of unintentional irony to the narrative . Dixie is stealing from the tax payer but doesn't consider himself a thief until he's forced to take part in the thieving of boots , cigarettes and other merchandise from the docks . I doubt if writer Alan Bleasedale wrote this with any type of irony involved , at least not at the time
And this type of context has changed over the decades . Where as in 1982 the audience would have universally sided with Dixie it probably wouldn't be the case now . Dixie is defrauding the state and watch all the mainstream political parties get involved in a race to the bottom to catch and punish this type of law breaker . Indeed it seems almost laughable in 2014 that one crime that resources are put in to is benefit fraud . The fraud office operation here might seem surreal and heavy handed , resembling a SAS survillence operation in a republican ghetto of West Belfast but in the 1980s the left wing press would sometimes print stories of how far the snoopers would go to uncover benefit fraud so an intricate cover story of " I'm here to sell you some perfume " isn't as far fetched as it sounds . Another difference between then and now is that every single person claiming job seekers allowance is a suspected cheat and the simple mechanics of claiming and qualifying for benefits would make it very difficult to work on the side as seen here
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