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McVicar (1980)

This is an ill-conceived account of the escape from Durham prison of notorious armed robber John McVicar. The Who‘s Roger Daltrey was one of the producers and the band had a hand in the noisy, inappropriate rock score.

Daltrey also attempts the role of McVicar, while another pop singer, Adam Faith, plays his mate, Walter ‘Angel Face’ Probyn who helps him tunnel out of jail.

McVicar is sentenced to eight years for robbery with violence after a string of convictions. He escapes twice – once from Parkhurst and again from the maximum security prison at Durham.

The film features two aspects of the McVicar story: the first being when McVicar is on the run from Durham; the second concerning him awaiting trial following his recapture.

Tom Clegg directs it all in slam-bang Sweeney style but you can’t help feeling that British producers should leave jail-break yarns to the Americans.

It might have been a lot more interesting to learn how McVicar turned his criminal life around and came to gain his BSc in the clink (this is merely a revelation in the film’s end credits).

John McVicar
Roger Daltrey
Walter ‘Angel Face’ Probyn
Adam Faith
Sheila McVicar
Cheryl Campbell
Joey Davis
Billy Murray
Georgina Hale
Ian Hendry
Ronnie Harrison
Steven Berkoff
Terry Stokes
Brian Hall
Bobby Harris
Peter Jonfield
“Rabies” Pendel
Tony Haygarth
Ian Hendry

Tom Clegg