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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > British TV > Thick As Thieves (British TV)

Thick As Thieves (British TV)


Picture: C+     Sound: C+     Extras: C-     Episodes: C+



Some comedy shows either work or don’t, and some of them have a certain type of comic niche that will only appeal to so many people.  In the case of the British situation comedy Thick As Thieves (1974), a then-unknown Bob Hoskins is a convict who just got out of prison after a three year stay.  When he gets back home to his wife (Pat Ashton), he discovers that she has taken up with his partner in crime (John Thaw) Stanley.  The acting is top-notch, there is comic timing that works and there is even chemistry, yet the show does not quite work.


As I watched the eight half-hour episodes included in this first boxed set from Acorn Media, I wondered if this would ever get better.  Those shows are:


1)     The Home Coming

2)     Happy Release

3)     Good Conduct

4)     Two Men In My Life

5)     The Trouble With Tommy

6)     Three Into Two Won’t Go

7)     Home & Away

8)     Holy Deadlock



Unless you are outraged or really thrown off by the idea of free criminals who have served their time and are trying to integrate into society, you are not likely to enjoy this show that much.  The situation has potential, but it is no surprise this was not brought over to the United States in a remade version.  After much consideration, I figured out the problem:  creators Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais.


These are the guys who gave us the film version of The Commitments, the Alan parker film about a Rock band that is one of the most overrated films of the last decade.  The idea of reality and human interaction these guys come up with just never rings true for me and all become subtly contrived very quickly.  The twist is, many people never notice this level of contrivance and mistake it for realism.  Well, I do not and the “people talk like that” argument never works.  Just because they are not histrionic does not make them realistic and unless you like that Parker film, Thick As Thieves will wear thin quickly.


The full frame 1.33 X 1 image is from an older PAL source, which is in good shape, but the halos from the older taping in some shots cannot be helped (via misalignment of the primary colors and definition limits) for color material that age in many cases.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono is not bad, but still shows its age, yet survives a bit better than the image.  The only extra is a text section of bio/filmographies of the cast and crew, which I still like, no matter how many people cry out “imdb” over and over again.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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