We love Budgie. Certainly one of the best British comedy dramas ever made, it had a top-notch writing team of Keith Waterhouse and Willis Hall, the perfect lead character in Adam Faith, a great supporting cast and like all the best shows, it went on for just long enough – for two series in total.
We’ve raved about series one in the past, which ended with Budgie heading off to prison. Which is where we come in for the newly-released series two. And after an episode of prison life and the re-introduction of the main characters, we’re back down Soho, with Budgie back in the pocket of arch-villain Charlie Endell and back with the women in his life – his wife Jean (Georgina Hale), then Hazel, the mother of his child (Lynn Dalby).
And once everything’s back in place, we’re really back to where we were in series one – with a couple of differences. Firstly, for my money, the stories are stronger. There’s no need to bed in the characters, so there’s more time for the plot. There’s also more guest appearances, including the likes of James Bolam, Gordon Jackson, Derek Jacobi, Kenneth Cranham and Diane Keen. And Charlie Endell gradually gets more sinister, building to the big series ending, when Soho’s Mr Big really does get nasty.
Pick of the episodes for me include the Jump Up Boys (a two-parter and the return of Grogan, who gets Budgie involved in a van-stealing racket), Do Me A Favour (Budgie gets Hazel’s cousin involved in a robbery), King For A Day (Budgie gets the job of running Endell Enterprises for 24 hours) and the final two-parter, when Charlie’s patience finally runs out with Budgie.
The end leaves you wanting more (and certainly leaves the door open for more), but series two was the end of Budgie. A spin-off series of Charlie Endell was started, but never finished and the writing team moved onto the Billy Liar TV show. So enjoy this and the previous series – because they don’t make ’em like this anymore.
Extras on the DVD:
Aquarius – a camera crew follows Adam Faith around during the filming of Budgie in 1971.
Adam Faith interview – Mr Faith meets Russell Harty in 1974 after recovering from a car accident.
Budgie’s Birds – some of the women connected with Budgie talk about the show.