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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Acid in the face? Oooh, nasty!
Big breadwinner Hog is a forgotten gem, or perhaps something that was brushed under the carpet at the time. It caused a huge stink after episode 1, which is very violent, and concludes with someone getting a bottle of acid thrown into their face, complete with agonising screams! Hog is a vicious arrogant character, a product of the late 60s in his 'mod gear', and is a...
Published on 19 Feb 2008 by Mr. C. J. Iredale

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2 of 25 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars rubbish
It sems I forgot the poor quality of television in the 60's. The sound was terribly, the visual quality was poor, the acting was appalling, and the storyline ridiculous. I remembered watching these weekly episodes when they were shown on BBC in the 60's and I missed the last episode. Of course there were no VCR's or DVD recorders in those days, so the last episode...
Published on 5 Oct 2009 by Ray


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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Acid in the face? Oooh, nasty!, 19 Feb 2008
By 
Mr. C. J. Iredale "juxtapose" (London Town) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Big Breadwinner Hog - The Complete Series/Spindoe - The Complete Series [DVD] [1969] (DVD)
Big breadwinner Hog is a forgotten gem, or perhaps something that was brushed under the carpet at the time. It caused a huge stink after episode 1, which is very violent, and concludes with someone getting a bottle of acid thrown into their face, complete with agonising screams! Hog is a vicious arrogant character, a product of the late 60s in his 'mod gear', and is a fascinating piece of tv. Spindoe is also a great addition, in a similar vein, with the lead character Spindoe being released from prison, only to find his S.E. London manor is now in the hands of others. I got this a while back now, but it is a welcome addition to other fab Network releases. More like this please...
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Two seventies TV classics, 14 Feb 2010
By 
John I. Mccutcheon "madpoet" (Leven, Fife, Scotland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Big Breadwinner Hog - The Complete Series/Spindoe - The Complete Series [DVD] [1969] (DVD)
These two exciting BBC serials, "Spindoe" with Ray McAnally and "Big Breadwinner Hog" starring a youthful Peter Egan, are exciting, gritty and give a convincing portrait of gangland London. Any resemblance to the Kray twins reign in the East End is purely coincidental, of course.
The violence in both serials is blunt and uncompromising, which caused many viewer complaints when these shows were first broadcast. These days it would hardly qualify for a PG rating at the cinema. The true violence is in the amoral attitudes of the gangsters being portrayed.
A first class package deal.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "He hurts my eyes...", 26 Mar 2010
This review is from: Big Breadwinner Hog - The Complete Series/Spindoe - The Complete Series [DVD] [1969] (DVD)
If Big Breadwinner Hog is remembered at all today, it is for the infamous acid throwing scene in the first episode which was the cause of the shows demise - as a result it was allocated to late night slots and dropped all together in some regions. It's a shame because it is a great series - outstanding performances all round (but special mentions to Alan Browning, Timothy West and a wonderfully off-balance Peter Egan in the lead), an engaging plot and a gritty look all stand in its favour. The real praise, though, must surely go to Robin Chapman, whose brainchild Hog (and also-included Spindoe) was. Drawing heavily on the themes and language of Jacobean Revenge Tragedy, especially John Webster's The Duchess of Malfi, Chapman weaves a dark and bloody tale of the criminal underworld of the swinging 1960s, full of complex, very human characters. That the series was dismissed as violent rubbish, and subsequently forgotten, is a travesty - that Network have once again worked their magic and lovingly packaged the entire series is a god-send.

The DVDs are excellent - picture and sound quality can be a little rough, but this is only to be expected in a little-loved series over forty years old, and I'm certain this is the best quality possible. Extra features include a very complete photo gallery and two bonus episodes of shows Robin Chapman worked on (one featuring the first appearance of Alec Spindoe). The accompanying booklet is closer to a small book in itself, with a truly fascinating essay on the history of the programme and a fairly complete biography of Chapman. The real masterstroke here though is including the complete series of Spindoe as an added bonus - it's quite conceivable that a series as obscure as this Ray McAnally gangster drama would never have seen a release on its own, so big thanks to Network for including the whole thing - it is a great series, full of wonderful character actors from the 1960s, great lines and some truly shocking moments to rival Hog. I can't reccomend this set enough, to any fan of archive television or british gangster fiction.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Acid Reign!, 22 Dec 2012
By 
Arch Stanton (Cornwall, England.) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Big Breadwinner Hog - The Complete Series/Spindoe - The Complete Series [DVD] [1969] (DVD)
Hog is an upcoming gangster in latter 60's London and his disrespectful, dandy and cocky approach inevitably lead him to disagreements with the established underworld. However Hog is both ambitious and cunning, not to mention dangerous, which gains both interest and anger from two established firms. Soon Hog is poking his nose everywhere but with the leading firm trying to spring their leader from prison, a rogue hitman becoming a 'security' threat and the cops following the bloody tracks of all involved, can Hog's luck hold out in time for him to take "more, much more!". . .
Superb 60's tv crime series. Packed full of humour, double crosses, satire and violence. I didn't see this when it first came out because i'm not old enough ("Thank god, eh grandad!"), needless to say i thought it was brilliant.
The story is good, dialogue solid, the characters interesting, well acted (if a little melodramatically handled in some cases) and completely amoral. It's got a decent jazz score and the action (sometimes very nasty, considering its vintage) is frequent and fun. Its controversial past drew me to this but i have to say it's much better than you would think given its shady reputation and with Hog's slow dehumanisation by the actions of himself and the others around him, it hardly glorifies its subject matter and certainly deserves to be seen by a much wider audience. To anyone who enjoys decent crime drama this comes highly recommended. And although many of these followed it, it reminded me of some of the characters/situations from: Performance, Gangster No1, The Smoke series (Barling), The Sandbaggers and the novels of Ted Lewis!
The Network release, though varying in quality slightly, from episode to episode is a top package and well worth the brass!
As an after edit i would also like to add that Spindoe, the bonus series, is also an excellent bit of TV and easily the equal of Hog!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly nasty (and enjoyable for all that), 10 May 2013
By 
Adie Barrett (Hampshire, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Big Breadwinner Hog - The Complete Series/Spindoe - The Complete Series [DVD] [1969] (DVD)
Peter Egan is one of my favourite actors who has shown many characters during his career. "Hog" is one I'd not seen, save the one tiny clip on Channel 4's "TV Heaven" back in 1992 - yes, the infamous acid-throwing scene. Legend can easily grow disproportionately to its actual status, so Network giving me the chance to review it for myself is most welcomed.

There is storytelling, and there is storytelling. Seen finally in context, it retains its horror and might not have passed censors was this ever destined for the cinema. It hammers home how dislikeable Hog really is, in a way not dissimilar to how Francis Urquhart ends up at the end of the televised "House Of Cards". Hog's inhumanity gains pace, leaving his closest associates behind in ever increasing numbers and speed as the series progresses. Yet by episode eight there were still surprises in store. The series' violence was apparently toned down in later episodes after an outcry - nevertheless, there are still moments of nastiness that even today remain genuinely disturbing. And as ever, it's great to see familiar faces among the cast that remain fresh in my mind, and here they are seen getting their teeth into the kind of parts I've rarely had the pleasure of witnessing them in before.

ITV should be congratulated for taking a chance on broadcasting this, even though over the decades they have been quick to kill shows showing (in their opinion) little promise or viewers to justify advertising fees. Nevertheless, "Hog" was put to death during its run by being removed to later at night, or even taken off the air altogether in some regions. Pity, for the slightly ambiguous ending seems to open the door a little for a second series, where "Hog" needs to consolidate his position and fight for where he is, and might even have justified an American involvement. (No, not explaining that - see for yourself what I mean!)

Yes, the criminals' "BBC" vocals jarred a bit, but this is well-known as a retrospective point, remembering that audiences at the time probably had higher expectations of the acting fraternity. And of course, many who afforded television sets needed to understand what was coming out of the tinny single speaker, not to mention the fact that regional accents had not really been invented on TV back then. Witness Timothy West announcing his organisation in his mock-Scots accent, which sounded like "Scotch Eggs", and Peter Egan sounds a bit too clean for a gangster, but then maybe typecasting distorts our expectations as viewers over time - and this was nearly a decade before Bob Hoskins' Harold Shand.

Episode one is a telerecording, as the original videotape seems not to exist. It is in a ropey condition though and would have benefitted from some polishing up to try and match the remaining eight which exist on their original format, and in pretty good nick too. One wonders if "Hog's" opening episode was deliberately scrapped (or spirited away for private showings to Granada executives) to prevent re-showing? For a long time, such an 'incomplete' show would not be broadcast but we vintage TV viewers are more tolerant than given credit for and satellite TV's showing of some monochrome programmes in pretty poor condition has watered down some expectations of perfection at every turn. It's getting the chance to see a descriptively well-told and decently-acted tale, without today's de rigour fast cutting which completely alienates me, compensating (as often it does IMHO) for a poor product.

Thanks go to the vision of this series creator Robin Chapman, Granada for taking a chance on making it, the veracity of ITV to show it in the first place to gain its deserved notoriety, and finally Network for releasing it on this splendid package which I bought for "Hog" alone. The included "Spindoe" with Ray McAnally (which I understand is the equal of "Hog") will have to wait as I want to watch "The Fellows" series in its entirety first. This series includes the Robin Chapman-penned episode featuring Alec Spindoe (also included on this set) where he was dealt with by the Law in the first place - I need to see this in context first, before viewing "Spindoe" itself.

So, on the basis of "Hog" alone, and presentation of this superb DVD package (as always) from Network, five stars. There's plenty of life in DVD yet for these vintage shows for which Blu-Ray will do little - if anything - to improve the picture quality of these older shows that were not originally made on film.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars TV the way it should be..., 22 Nov 2010
This review is from: Big Breadwinner Hog - The Complete Series/Spindoe - The Complete Series [DVD] [1969] (DVD)
Black and white, and looking a little jaded on modern TV equipment, but what does that matter? This is a wonderful and original piece of work, and Peter Egan is fabulous as the eponymous "Hog." The end of episode one, where he splashes acid again and again into the face of a gangster he has a grievance with is worth the purchase price on its own. Only two things irritate: Firstly, the firm of corparate criminals that run the London underworld is called Scot-Yanks, even though there is no evidence of any Americans anywhere in the story, and although it is explained (not convincingly) it reeks of a plot idea inserted to help sell the show to the USA by having American involvement. Clearly this never happened but they left that silly and irritating name for the gang. Secondly, most of the villains, especially those at the top of "Scot-Yanks" have very "BBC" accents. Given that Charlie and Eddie Richardson were still running London (the Krays had been gaoled by this time) when the show was made, it was farcical not to have someone with a London accent in this position of criminal power. To give you an idea, try to think of the movie, The Long Good Friday, with Bob Hoskins' character Harold Shand, talking like he was reading the news on the BBC.

All the same, it's a pleasure to watch this controversial series, and lord protect it from a "cult" following because nothing would ruin the pleasure of watching this faster than having to listen to gen-Xers talking about it like they own it. As they do with wonderful stuff utterly beyond their understanding such as A Clockwork Orange (you have to have lived in the early seventies to make the cultural and satirical references). Big Breadwinner Hog is thoroughly recommended!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Big Breadwinner Hog, 10 Sep 2012
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This review is from: Big Breadwinner Hog - The Complete Series/Spindoe - The Complete Series [DVD] [1969] (DVD)
Well done Network for releasing a first rate crime series.

The plot, at times, can be a bit convoluted, but so what, it's good to give the brain cells a bit of work out now and again. The cast are good, but there are a couple of comedic moments, especially when Donald Burton (the actor playing Ackerman), on a couple of occasions, dramatically falls to the ground after being knocked out.
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2 of 25 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars rubbish, 5 Oct 2009
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This review is from: Big Breadwinner Hog - The Complete Series/Spindoe - The Complete Series [DVD] [1969] (DVD)
It sems I forgot the poor quality of television in the 60's. The sound was terribly, the visual quality was poor, the acting was appalling, and the storyline ridiculous. I remembered watching these weekly episodes when they were shown on BBC in the 60's and I missed the last episode. Of course there were no VCR's or DVD recorders in those days, so the last episode stayed missed. Having seen the DVD release, I wonder how I ever enjoyed it, and wish I had not bothered watching it again. At least I now appreciate how much TV has improved since then. I fail to see how the previous reviewer could find anything good to say about it. If its a jem, it must be a poor quality one.
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