Home Television Comedy Turtle’s Progress

Turtle’s Progress

1 9 7 9 – 1 9 8 0 (UK)
7 x 60 minute episodes

turtlesprogress2Six months before viewers were treated to the dodgy dealings of Arthur Daley and his muscle-bound sidekick Terry in Minder, ITV launched this not dissimilar series.

The focus was on Turtle (John F. Landry) – a character first seen in the 1975 thriller serial, The Hanged Man – a loveable, unrepentant, small-time crook who lived with his Aunt Ethel and was joined in his petty larceny by the big-eating Razor Eddie (Michael Attwell) – a giant former hooligan, now “bettering himself”.

Indicative of this duo’s criminal ambitions was the fact that they nicked a van for the modest fee of £35. What they didn’t realise was that the van contained a hoard of stolen safety deposit boxes, which their rightful and wrongful owners soon demanded back.

Keeping out of the reach of both police and fellow law-breakers, Turtle and Eddie discovered that the boxes contained a fortune.

They hid half in a safe in a scrapyard, and the other half in a neighbour’s loft, and set up a company – Guaranteed Security Inc. (which specialised in murky underworld operations) – with some of the loot, taking a five-year lease on a high-rise office in Victoria.


Unfortunately, each security box (one was opened per episode) also contained a headache for the lads – top-secret documents, important chemical formulae etc – that they needed to shake off.

The setting was Fulham, and Turtle’s local was The Robin Hood pub, where the redoubtable Aunt Ethel worked as a barmaid, calling time while her husband was inside doing it.

The character of Turtle’s nemesis, Superintendent Rafferty, was taken over by David Swift after original actor James Grout broke a leg.

Alan Price wrote and sang the theme song. The series was an immediate hit with the critics.

John F. Landry
Razor Eddie
Michael Attwell
Aunt Ethel Wagstaff
Ruby Head
George Wagstaff
Tony London
Superintendent Rafferty
James Grout
Jason Thorpe
Terry Kinsella
Anthea Goodliffe
Leueen Willoughby
Colour Sergeant Arnold
Tony Melody
John Tolland
Tom Cotcher
Godfrey James
Geordie Sam
Barry Stanton
WPC Andrews
Jo Ross