1 9 7 9 (UK)
1 x 30 minute episodes
1 9 8 1 (UK)
6 x 30 minute episodes
“One for Figaro . . . every bugger for Figaro”
The success of the single TV play of the same title from BBC Bristol which was broadcast in 1979, gave rise to this short series on BBC2 in 1981 which told of the innocent, comic adventures of a group of council building workers – “The Figaro Club” – and their fantastical schemes to put one over on the officious Clerk of Works Harold Perkins (Roland Curram).
The series was set in in a seaside town (it was filmed in Exmouth, Devon) in the fondly-remembered post-war era of the early 1950s “before the world turned lax and sour”.
Norman Rossington played Big Jim, the leader of the group; Sylvester McCoy played a Scottish Teddy Boy called Turps, and Gordon Rollings played Old Ned (who lived in a large pipe). Other cast members included David Beckett, David John and Tony Robinson. Bob Hoskins narrated.
Beautifully paced and written by Ted Walker, the series was unfortunately broadcast in a late-night slot on BBC2 so did not attract the viewing audience it deserved.
Rossington (and many of the TV cast) returned to Big Jim and the Figaro Club in 1987, making six new half-hour episodes for BBC Radio 4. The radio version was narrated by Bernard Cribbins.
Old Ned (Edward Smith)
Big Jim and the Figaro Club | Dung from a Rocking Horse | Laughing Like a Drain | Hearts of Oak | A Bit of Rough Shooting | The Pursuit of Courtly Love