1 9 7 5 (UK)
12 x 30 minute episodes
1 9 7 6 (UK)
6 x 30 minute episodes
In the graffiti-sprayed concrete jungle of “a large Midlands city” (recognisably Birmingham), bored youths turn to gangs for a sense of purpose and belonging. One such gang is ‘Anvil’ and they are involved in efforts to frighten Old Tom (Walter Dalby) out of his lifelong home.
But this is not mindless thuggery – the youths are pawns in the game of the real villains, in the pay of unscrupulous property developers who want Tom and his kind moved on so they can build their tower blocks and profits.
Tom’s grandson Billy (Gerry Sundquist), a 15-year-old member of the Anvil gang, must fight to help his grandfather while falling in love with Sarah (Sara Clee), a girl who wants to help.
Sarah’s father is on the council but her pleas fall on deaf ears since the councillors are in the pay of the developers. The corruption runs deep and there are protection rackets – with an Asian shopkeeper called Suliman Khan (Dev Sagoo) among those threatened and hospitalised in attacks.
Now largely forgotten in the rush to praise Grange Hill as ushering in a new dawn of urban realism, The Siege of Golden Hill was a gritty and cynical portrayal of modern social problems in the multiracial Britain of the mid-70s.
The life of Anvil leader Jacky (Billy Hamon) after the days of the gang had passed was the focus of a 1976 sequel – simply titled Golden Hill – which saw him as easy prey for another businessman on the make. This time Jacky was implicated in the disposal of toxic waste.