An alcoholic middle-aged computer programmer (Bernard Hill) is left with his wife’s son when she dumps both of them. To get out of debt he sells some information to a criminal gang about the security systems at a bank near Heathrow Airport – but now the robbers want him to be the new “Bellman” (the person who disarms the alarm system) on the actual heist and kidnap the boy to ensure he complies.
The heist itself is a white knuckle masterpiece.
Very few actual names are used in the film and the characters are referred to by their first name or surname only or by an alternative term such as the Guv’nor (boss), Bellman (alarm disabler), Peterman (safebreaker) and Wheelman (getaway driver).
This hidden gem of 1980s British cinema was a co-production between Euston Films and Handmade Films and originally intended as a three-part television miniseries. The title is taken from the names of two fox-hounds mentioned in the lyrics of the 18th-century ballad Do Ye Ken John Peel?, a song about fox-hunting.