1968 | United Kingdom

Spindoe is a tale of cross border gang warfare - North versus South London and a lesson in no-honour among thieves. The series introduced a more rugged and dramatic form of story telling and saw levels of violence not previously shown on British Television. 

On the day that former gangland boss Alec Spindoe (Ray McAnally) is released from a seven-year stretch he is met outside the prison not, as he expected, by his number two, Eddie Edwards, but by his fiercest rival Henry Mackleson, criminal emperor of the North. Mackleson is there to warn Spindoe off from trying to regain his own empire and has a word of caution for his old enemy as well as a cryptic message about Spindoe's wife. 

Following a heated exchange Spindoe makes his own way home only to have Mackleson's men deliver a chilling message in the form of several warning shots into the wall above his head. Spindoe's first stop on his way home is to his bank where he tries to withdraw some money only to discover his life savings and all his property deeds have been completely cleaned out by his wife, Shelagh, who it transpires is now living with his former underling Eddie Edwards. 

Not content with just taking his money and his wife Edwards has also taken over all of Spindoe's old territory and has, in the process, murderously done away with all the men he considered would remain loyal to his former employer. Spindoe immediately makes his way to Edwards' address where he delivers a chilling ultimatum demanding Shelagh come back to him or die. It's not long before full-scale gang warfare breaks out.

Spindoe features some outstanding performances not least of all from Ray McAnally as Alec Spindoe, a character that was created in a single episode of an earlier TV series called The Fellows. Richard Hurndall gives a chilling performance as Henry Mackleson and George Sewell is excellent as Scaliger, a gun for hire who aligns himself to Spindoe. The entire series has been released by Network DVD and comes in a box-set with writer Robin Chapman's follow up series - the even more violent crime drama Big Breadwinner Hog. The DVD also has a great extra episode of The Fellows that first introduced Alec Spindoe.

Published on January 31st, 2019. Written by Laurence Marcus for Television Heaven.