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Gangsters Incident Six (1976–1978) Online

Gangsters Incident Six (1976–1978) Online
Original Title :
Incident Six
Genre :
TV Episode / Crime / Drama
Year :
Directror :
Kenneth Ives
Cast :
Maurice Colbourne,Ahmed Khalil,Elizabeth Cassidy
Writer :
Philip Martin
Type :
TV Episode
Time :
Rating :
Gangsters Incident Six (1976–1978) Online

Episode credited cast:
Maurice Colbourne Maurice Colbourne - John Kline
Ahmed Khalil Ahmed Khalil - Khan
Elizabeth Cassidy Elizabeth Cassidy - Anne Darracott
Saeed Jaffrey Saeed Jaffrey - Aslam Rafiq
Paul Satvendar Paul Satvendar - Kuldip
Alibe Parsons Alibe Parsons - Sarah Gant
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
John Abineri John Abineri - Consortium MD
Ashi Arora Ashi Arora - Jashir's daughter
Bela Arora Bela Arora - Jashir's daughter
Paul Barber Paul Barber - Malleson
Christopher Benjamin Christopher Benjamin - Assistant managing director
Emily Bolton Emily Bolton - Mangit (as June Bolton)
Doña Croll Doña Croll - Maxine
Rolf Day Rolf Day - Comedian
Oscar James Oscar James - Malleson's bodyguard

User reviews



The original PLAY FOR TODAY was a great success but success can lead to failure . Think of how many great have a needless sequel . There's no way I would condemn this thriller series as " needless " but after re watching series one immediately following seeing PFT you're painfully aware GANGSTERS was meant as a one off teleplay and not a full series

This leads to some serious gaps in both logic and characterization . John Kline is now revealed to be a former SAS soldier . Fair enough it's not something you'd mention to every passer by but co-owner of The Maverick Club Dermot Mcavoy knows this and Dermot also happens to be a member of the provisional IRA who is using the club to launder funds for the provos . Hmmm a former SAS soldier and an IRA man as co-owners in a Birminham club ? Even if they were fairly ordinary gangsters it's difficult to imagine Kline ever trusting Mcavoy due to the events of the original teleplay . In fact the whole SAS/IRA thing seems to be written to introduce a highly ridiculous leftfield subplot involving an IRA unit . Ridiculous yes but one that's highly offensive considering two IRA bombs had murdered 21 people in Birmingham less than two years previously . Worse still the fact that it contains a rather farcical comic sequence makes it even more offensive rather than less

Most of the other subplots do work thankfully , but there's a lot of them . Basically all BBC drama serials in the 1970s suffer from a greater or lesser degree from being episodic when seen in the 21st century . It's also very VERY important to keep this in mind . Black and ethnic minorities were confined as comedy characters in shows such as LOVE THY NEIGHBOUR and MIND YOUR LANGUAGE and I doubt if there had ever been a show up till then with strong characters such as Khan , Malleson , Mangit etc . In fact the relationship between Khan and Mangit should be celebrated as being " groundbreaking " since it involves an extra marital relationship between a Pakistani Muslim policeman and an Indian Sikh woman . You'll never hear it discussed from the liberal establishment but even today there still remains cultural and sexual taboos within ethnic minorities and this very human subplot will possibly remain with you longer than the explicit sex and violence - probably because we're talking mid 1970s BBC sex and violence

Most of the cast do well . Paul Barber almost steals the show as Malleson . It might be a rather obvious performance but that's probably the point . Malleson comes across as a wannabe ghetto king and Barber's dialogue and performance is highly entertaining . Elizabeth Cassidy is outstanding as junkie Anne Darracott . In these days drug addiction was fairly uncommon but her performance is enough to let everyone know all they have to know about the dangers of class A drugs . Albie Parsons might do her best but her character seems to be a victim of bad plotting while again June Bolton as Mangit never comes across as being anything less than a three dimensional character living in the real world . The only really disappointing performance is male lead Colbourne but that's possibly a flaw of the writing on the part of Martin in which Kline seems over developed in some ways and under developed in others

The mix of sex , drugs and violence coupled with strong and racist language had my head spinning every Thursday night way back in the Autumn of 1976 . Over the years moral TV standards have fallen which means we have very good standards of adult drama coming from the US in the shape of HBO . Unfortunately this means something like GANGSTERS seems very tame in comparison in 2008 . It should be judged on its own terms from 1976 and despite its flaws it's a thriller series that still contains some strong aspects when watched today


The Play for Today had enough about it to interest me in following on through season 1 of Gangsters for reasons beyond geography (I have lived in the location for this series, Birmingham, for the last 10 years). On the face of it, the show offered grit and drama, a view of an increasingly multicultural Britain that would have been unseen on the nation's television screens at this period in time. The nudity, inter-racial relationships and lack of "good" characters also suggested that it would seek to push the boundaries of conventional television drama of the time. In this regard history tells us that the series succeeded in doing this as it was not only controversial but also popular and certainly watching season 1 gives you the impression that you are watching something that was of cultural importance back in the mid-1970's.

However that is also sadly the problem with it – the fact that it is so undeniably dated to this period in almost every regard. Of course this is not a totally fair criticism to level at something that and to an extent I was fine with accepting certain things about it being dated. Costumes, attitudes, Birmingham; all these sorts of things were part of the appeal as it put the story in a time and in a place. The production standards are a bit harder to accept though. The "sets" in the series practically wobble when people walk round and are made even worse by the contrast with the many external shots scenes in the real world. The visual style is a mix of the good and bad. On the good side, the hand-held style was pretty original for BBC TV and must have been greeted as such. Looking back though, this device is now used so often and so well that it does just look a bit like the BBC couldn't get access to a steadicam for the series – suffice to say that this is not The Shield. These are all cosmetic things though and come with the period and what interested me more was the content because good content is good content no matter how much time passes.

In my review of the pilot I had said that I was hoping for some depth and grit to the characters – something that I perhaps unfairly expecting thanks to the unreasonable expectations that watching The Wire tends to engender in people. I still wanted the show to do this but after a few episodes I settled into what is a deliberately "cinéma vérité" dive into an exaggerated world of violence, drugs, prostitution, revenge and corruption. Thinking in the context of the period, this must have been daring, adult and quite fun – to revel in this "fictional" world without having to actually get into it or leave the safety of your home. Gangsters provides a deliberately provocative yet cheesy crime story. I say cheesy because, without much in the way of substance, it does become a constant parade of "depravity" and, without a tangible grit or darkness, it does tend towards the slightly comic or "entertaining". This approach didn't really work for me and, while I found it all quite amusing, I wouldn't say it engaged me and historical relevance or forgiveness isn't something I can keep in the fore while watching something. The vérité style also breaks up the narrative flow. In the background we have Khan using John to enter the criminal hierarchy to cut the head off this snake but it doesn't build this particularly well and this aspect seems as disjointed as the rest of it. This leaves the "get John Kline" thread to be the main one but this is also sporadic and doesn't build tension. The thread with Khan's affair was of interest due to the cultural aspect and also introducing a layer to his character but otherwise the story and characters just feel like they are being delivered with little interest in them or their world beyond the novelty/shock value of their seedy doings.

The cast are a real mix and mostly focus on being dangerous/seedy/tough/sexy* (*delete as appropriate). Colbourne manages to do well as Kline in so much as he is an anti-hero that doesn't repulse the audience. Khalil seems more able though as he has a better character and slightly more interesting material to work with. Cassidy continues her interesting character and exceeded my expectation by doing more than her material gave her. Parsons is a bit vampish but suits the "larger than life" narrative. Barber is good value as one of the main villains but unfortunately his material is a bit too comic for my taste and he loses menace as a result. I like the way Jaffrey oozes his way across the screen in his character – one I hope the second season develops. Bolton is very good and the realist person in the show – a shame that she is very much on the sidelines for the majority. Although the series doesn't force the locations out, I did enjoy the Birmingham settings – particularly a scene in Moseley Baths swimming pool, a few 100 meters from my flat!

Gangsters is best watched in the context in which it was screened because then you can accept all the weaknesses it has. I was born the year it first screened so I found this hard to do and instead I was left with dated production values, a lack of grit and depth, wooden sets and a vérité style that doesn't really work as well as similar modern uses do. It did still entertain me in a sort of dated rather cheesy way even if my longing for real darkness (as opposed to shocking content) or more development never went away. Season two awaits and I don't think that season one was strong enough to make me excited about "more of the same" but we'll see.