The best known of all 18c highwaymen, working mainly around London (but eventually hanged in York), Dick Turpin and his horse, Black Bess, became legend in the 19c thanks to the Penny Dreadfuls, sensational stories of gruesome events serialised in weekly parts at the cost of one penny.
A romantic version of the Turpin legend had already been filmed in 1933 starring Victor McLagen (an instantly forgettable film that is perhaps only notable for starring James Finlayson -the comic foil or protagonist to comic legends Laurel and Hardy in numerous movies).
This 1979 TV version starring former Man About The House star Richard O'Sullivan was no less of a romantic tale. Turpin, cheated out of his wealth while on duty in Flanders, decides to regain his money using his own, not so lawful methods. The law was represented as corrupt in the form of Sir John Glutton (Christopher Benjamin) and his sneering sidekick, Capt. Nathan Spiker (David Daker), whilst Turpin was assisted by a young tearaway by the name of Swiftnick (Michael Deeks). A spin-off mini series, Dick Turpin's Greatest Adventures (1981) starred Dallas bad girl Mary Crosby.
Published on December 7th, 2018. Written by Network - with permission. for Television Heaven.