Budgie (1971–1972)
''There are two things I hate in this world Budgie and you are both of them!''
22 May 2018
Warning: Spoilers
The late Adam Faith started out in showbiz as a pop singer, gaining hits with songs such as 'Someone Else's Baby' and, my favourite, 'What Do You Want If You Don't Want Money'. When groups such as The Beatles ( a group I have never cared for ) started to rise to prominence, Faith found himself less popular in music circles and so branched into acting. Keith Waterhouse and Willis Hall took him under their wing and made him the leading man in this wonderful LWT drama about a bungling petty thief.

Ronald 'Budgie' Bird is a Cockney fly-by-night type to whom jail is a second home. He often tries to find ways of making easy money but his schemes, thanks to his own incompetence, usually end in disaster. His girlfriend Hazel ( to whom he has an illegitimate son with ) often bores the brunt of his cock-ups, which have ranged as far as trying to flog bootleg stamps, dirty magazines and indeed on one occasion, he even tried flogging a baby illegally.

Budgie works for Charlie Endell, a Glaswegian crook who runs his own strip club in Soho. Charlie sometimes shows compassion towards Budgie, such as helping him out of financial problems, though he does sometimes go out of his way to make him suffer.

'Budgie' ( originally to be titled 'The Loser' ) was an immediate hit with viewers and to my mind was one of the best drama shows of the '70's along with 'Callan', 'The Champions' and 'Randall & Hopkirk ( Deceased )'. As the mean spirited Budgie, Adam Faith was superb, though Iain Cuthbertson was undeniably the one who shone as Endell. He was so popular he even landed his own series for STV - the short lived but enjoyable 'Charles Endell Esquire'. Gorgeous Lynn Dalby played his long suffering girlfriend Hazel and deserved far more recognition than she got for her portrayal.

Guest appearances included Derek Jacobi, Gordon Jackson, Alfie Bass, Jack Smethurst, Brenda Bruce and James Bolam.

'Budgie' ran for two series. A third was to be made but Adam Faith was involved in a car crash not long after and was forced to retire briefly from acting. A stage version was made in the late '80's, with Anita Dobson taking on the role of Hazel. Thankfully, all of the show has been released on DVD and is highly enjoyable stuff, worth watching again and again.
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