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Dick Turpin - Swiftnick

episode 1.1

UK 1979
produced by
Sidney Cole, Paul Knight for Gatetarn, Seacastle, London Weekend Television/ITV
directed by Charles Crichton
starring Richard O'Sullivan, Christopher Benjamin, David Daker, Michael Deeks, Jo Rowbottom, Alex McCrindle, Billy Dean
written by Richard Carpenter, series created by Richard Carpenter, Sidney Cole, Paul Knight, music by Denis King

Dick Turpin, Dick Turpin (Richard O'Sullivan)

review by
Mike Haberfelner

Available on DVD !

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England, the 1700s: It's common knowledge that Dick Turpin, highwayman, has been hanged - only Captain Spiker (David Daker), Turpin's arch-nemesis, believes they've only hanged an impostor, much to the ridicule of the local Sheriff, Sir Glutton (Christopher Benjamin).

Mary Smith (Jo Rowbottom) is running a pub, with the place being on rent from Sir Glutton, but wants her out so he has deliberately raised the rent she can't dream of paying. So her son, Nick (Michael Deeks), decides to rob a rich merchant dressing up as Dick Turpin - only the man whom he robs turns out to be the real Dick Turpin in disguise, and he only just lets him escape with his life. However, he then does put up the money for Sir Glutton, with the intention of robbing the man again on his way home - but it's a trap set up by Captain Spiker, and Turpin almost falls for it, if it wasn't for Nick, who lures Spiker and company onto a false track - and is captured and convicted to the gallows for it. And now it's up to Turpin to free Nick again ...


Swashbucklers haven't all done equally well on the small screen in serialized form but Dick Turpin sure's up there with the best of them, and this first episode already shows why: It's told in a light-footed way with plenty of stuff happening at all times, the characters are fleshed out and likeable (even the heavies), it doesn't try to be bigger than the budget and format would allow, and it does always have a wink in the eye to it without becoming a pure parody let alone moronic. And above all, it's just a really good watch.


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produced by and starring
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directed by
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written by
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out now on DVD