Thick as Thieves: The Complete Series – Review

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By Sarah Morgan

Take Bob Hoskins and John Thaw, throw them together with a script by the men behind Porridge, The Likely Lads and Auf Wiedersehen, Pet, and what do you get?

Sadly, not the laugh-fest you might have expected.

When Thick of Thieves was originally shown during the summer of 1974, neither Hoskins or Thaw were stars. Instead, their best work still lay ahead of them – Thaw would become an iconic figure just a year later thanks to his role as Jack Regan in The Sweeney, while Hoskins had to wait another three years before Pennies From Heaven made him a household name.

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Both men must, however, have thought they were onto a winner when they were chosen to take the male leads in Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais’ sitcom about professional – if slightly hapless – thieves whose friendship is put to the test when one of them falls for the other’s wife while he’s serving time.

Hoskins plays George Dobbs, or Dobbsy, the wronged husband who’s horrified to find his best mate Stan (Thaw) shacked up with his wife Annie (Pat Ashton) when he returns home a day earlier than expected.

“Missed opportunity”

thick as thieves dvd review coverThe rest of the series sees the menage a trois trying to figure out what the future holds – each man wants Annie to choose him over the other, while Annie, poor soul, could use some peace and quiet. Perhaps a fresh start would be better rather than spending her time cooking, cleaning and ironing for two blokes who spend the majority of their time shouting at each other or at her.

And that’s about it, in a nutshell. There are sub-plots thrown in, such as one involving George being hailed a hero for jumping in the Thames to save a little boy, and the appearance of Trevor Peacock as a thug who hides out in the trio’s Fulham home for a while, but it feels as if the writers ran out of steam early on, and had to stretch out the premise to fill eight episodes.

It’s a shame really, because there’s a germ of a good idea here, but genuine, laugh-out-loud gags are few and far between. Still, at least Thaw got to try out his cockney accent before The Sweeney came knocking. Nevertheless, Thick of Thieves is nothing more than a curiosity piece, a missed opportunity for all concerned.

‘Thick as Thieves: The Complete Series’ is released on DVD by Network


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