Thursday, 7 April 2011

Big Breadwinner Hog

‘Big Breadwinner Hog’ is a 1969 Granada TV show devised by Robin Chapman about an arrogant and ruthless young criminal and his rise through the London criminal ranks. It’s a series which is full of good performances and some memorable, literate dialogue as well as a number of fairly graphic (for the time) beatings, shootings and a fairly unpleasant hydrochloric acid attack.

Attracting a massive amount of complaints from the first episode, the show was toned down and moved to a later time slot. In some regions, the show was dropped five episodes into its eight episode run.

It's pretty good, relatively fast paced and full of twists and turns. The characters are well drawn and their motivations are clear. The only exception is Hogarth, the dead eyed dandy on the up, an amoral vacuum at the centre of the story: we never find out if there is anything behind his ruthless ambition apart from ambition itself, and we never know if he feels satisfied with the outcome. 

Hogarth was played by Peter Egan, who makes for a convincing dandy, but a less convincing hard man. Egan later made his name as Paul, the smooth neighbour in the sitcom ‘Ever Decreasing Circles’. It might have been interesting to see how Hogarth would have dealt with living next door to Richard Briers, although it might not have been very funny.

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