1 9 6 9 (UK)
4 x 25 minute episodes
The title of this BBC children’s drama referred to five children – Sid (Martin Skinner), Fred (Martin Ratcliffe), Algy (John Gugolka), Rosie (Helen Worth, later known to millions as Gail in Coronation Street) and Clio (Juliet Marshall), otherwise known as the Cemetery Committee.
The five had proven their bravery by risking their lives hurtling down Death Wall – an area of an old racetrack where many drivers were killed – on pram wheels.
When a robbery takes place, the beliefs of the children are brought into question. To regain the stolen money they too must behave like thieves.
Fred’s gran (Barbara Leake) has a new lodger, the sinister Mr Gribble (Frank Mills). Sid, the leader of the Cemetery Committee and by far the most intelligent, is suspicious of the stranger from the moment he sets eyes on him. Sid’s suspicions are confirmed when Gribble makes off with Gran’s savings, leaving the poor old woman unable to pay her bills.
The Cemetery Committee pool their resources to track the villain down but, to regain Gran’s money, they must break into Gribble’s house. Against Sid’s wishes, the other members of the gang agree to steal the money back from Gribble. Sid strongly believes that it is wrong and refuses to be involved.
Fred, Algy, Rosie and Clio leave Sid standing outside the local cinema as they begin their journey to Gribble’s home.
A Handful of Thieves aired on Mondays between 22 September and 13 October 1969. It was based on a 1967 novel by Nina Bawden which was also read as a story on Jackanory by Keith Barron between 23 October and 27 October 1967.
The Sinister Lodger | The Fireworks Party | Find Mr Gribble! | Stop Thief!