1 9 8 6 (UK)
4 x 50 minute episodes
A four-part drama series from the BBC about Eddie Cass (Denis Lawson), a fedora-sporting South London small-time crook who finds himself threatened by the state’s shadowy security agencies.
Eddie is a lowlife loser involved in various petty crimes and shady deals – such as collecting protection money from fish and chip shops, most of which is then taken away anyway by a corrupt police officer (a brief cameo by the great Don Henderson).
At his local pub, he is offered £500 to collect a box and deliver it to a rather ritzy address in Regents Park.
He knows the deal is dodgy but can’t turn down the money, especially after the messy split from his wife Dana (Lindsay Duncan).
The botched delivery leaves Eddie holding a hat box containing a severed head. Shocked he drops the box in the river and heads to see his partner-in-crime Caractacus (Norman Beaton), but the bully boys from Special Branch arrive and turn the place over, taking Eddie away for a ride.
A man named Eldridge (George Baker) informs Eddie that the hatbox belongs to his ex-wife and affirms that Eddie is now knee-deep in trouble and must now do whatever they say.
Eddie realises he is being set up as the patsy for a string of killings so heads North – but is intercepted on the train by earring-wearing Special Branch man Hugo Silver (Simon Callow) who throws Eddie off the train and jumps off after him.
Eddie is handcuffed and taken to himself to a safe house in the countryside where he discovers that Special Branch are helping to cover up a series of sadistic murders being committed by someone very important indeed.
Once free, he seeks refuge in Birmingham before heading to Scotland to find Mr Big – or so he thinks.
The series caused some sharp intakes of breath when he was tied to a bed and a yuppie lady had her wicked way with him. The tabloids went wild with “Rape!” headlines, and Denis Lawson made the front page as far away as New Zealand.