Home Television Drama 4 Idle Hands

4 Idle Hands

1 9 7 6 (UK)
6 x 30 minute episodes

“Maybe we’re not ready for the outside world.”
“Is the outside world ready for us?”

Life has never been easy for school-leavers, and workshy 16-year-old Mike Dudds (Phil Daniels) and Pete Sutton (Ray Burdis) are no different to millions of others.

Neither has a vocation to follow or any demonstrable skills. Their sense of responsibility is slowly maturing, but they still can’t resist practical jokes – like wrapping a master’s car in toilet rolls – and would rather spend all their time shooting the breeze in Emilio’s Cafe.

They are the despair of the careers officer and as their efforts to avoid the dole queue land them a succession of disastrous jobs – with Mike reluctant to use his keen intellect and Pete with his head filled with romantic but highly unlikely ambitions –  4 Idle Hands humorously details the unremitting difficulties of adolescence.

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The boys drift through various work schemes until they meet the attractive Frances (Sally Tinker), a social worker who tries to help them on their way.

First screened on 26 March 1976, this light-hearted series, aimed at teenage viewers features an early TV role for future Quadrophenia (1979) and EastEnders star Phil Daniels, with George Innes, Royston Tickner and Howard Goorney taking on the principal adult roles.

It was a groundbreaking series which did not gain the attention it deserved, no doubt largely due to its awkward timeslot of 4.20 pm – younger children would have found it confusing and boring, while it probably passed unnoticed by the older teenagers it was actually aimed at.

Mike Dudds
Phil Daniels
Pete Sutton
Ray Burdis
George Innes
Mr Dudds
Royston Tickner
Mr Sutton
Howard Goorney
Sally Tinker


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