Budgie (TV series)

Budgie (TV series)

infobox television
show_name = Budgie

caption = "(shown left) Iain Cuthbertson and (shown right) Adam Faith in ITV television series Budgie"
format = Sitcom
runtime =
creator = Keith Waterhouse
starring = Adam Faith
opentheme =
country = United Kingdom
| network = ITV
first_aired = 1971
last_aired = 1972
num_episodes = 26
list_episodes =
website =
imdb_id =
tv_com_id =
followed_by = |

"Budgie" was a popular British television series starring former popstar Adam Faith which was produced by ITV London Friday-Monday franchise London Weekend Television broadcast on the ITV network between 1971 and 1972. [ [http://www.televisionheaven.co.uk/faith.htm Budgie | A Television Heaven Review ] ]

The series was created by Keith Waterhouse the scriptwriters were Keith Waterhouse, Willis Hall and Douglas Livingstone. Produced by Rex Firkin and Verity Lambert.

eries plot

Each episode was a complete story, usually depicting Budgie's involvement in some harebrained scheme to make money, usually somewhere on the wrong side of legality. However he was continually the victim of circumstance, or of the sharper, more experienced underworld operators he tried to emulate.

Plots included:
*Trying to unload thousands of stolen ballpoint pens he has unwisely bought from one fence, paying too much in the process. He finds that the pens are all stamped with a logo, possibly "Her Majesty's Government", making them unsellable. Apparently these were the classic "trading commodity", the only object being to sell them to another sucker. Charlie offers to take them off Budgie's hands for next to nothing in exchange for a favor or two, and promptly unloads them to another villain.
*Arranging a pornographic film show in a hotel and having assured the "punters" that the film was "the real Laurel and Hardy, if you know what I mean", making his escape before they find out the film really is a Laurel and Hardy movie.
*Accidentally stealing a van load of pornographic magazines from the police and then having to destroy the evidence. The wind blows the pages from the bonfire Budgie and his pal have made and they blow all over a field where a prison wardens versus prisoners rugby match is to be played imminently.

Eventually all his "friends" desert him and he winds up back in jail, ironically for something he had nothing to do with.

eries two

Series two begins with Budgie being released from the "open nick" and staying with his wife for a few days. A chance meeting with his ex-girlfriend, Hazel, who is now living with someone else and Budgie finding out that his wife has been sleeping with a friend of Budgie's, also from the same Open prison force Budgie to move back in with his girlfriend and his son, Howard, who is now 2 years old. Budgie carried on pretty much as he did in the first series, which also started with him being released from the same open prison from a previous sentence. the second series ended with him being beaten up by both his boss and one of his henchmen. This, combined with the fact that Budgie's mother has recently died, his father not wanting him, his girlfriend - Hazel - becoming pregnant by Budgie, and the fact that he wants to leave Hazel for a stripper he has recently slept with who then tells him that she is moving abroad makes budgie ever the more depressed and eventually makes him head off into a new life. This is where the series ended and nothing more was heard of Budgie.


The title role, a chirpy cockney petty criminal newly out of prison, was played by former pop singer Adam Faith and was his first starring role for television. [ [http://www.televisionheaven.co.uk/budgie.htm Budgie | A Television Heaven Review ] ] His name in the series was Ronald 'Budgie' Bird, after the budgerigar birds sometimes kept as pets in England, and generally known in the USA as parakeets.

The series co-starred Iain Cuthbertson as Charles (Charlie) Endell, a suave and Machiavellian Glaswegian gangster based in London, who employed Budgie, often against his better judgement, or when he was in need of an unsuspecting fall guy.

Other regular members of the cast included Lynn Dalby as Budgie's girlfriend, Hazel Fletcher, Georgina Hale as his wife, Jean, June Lewis as Mrs Endell and George Tovey as his father, Jack Bird. John Rhys-Davies (later of "Sliders") has an early regular role as a corpulent gangster working for Endell, with the colourful name of Laughing Spam Fritter.


"Budgie" was created by Keith Waterhouse the scriptwriters were Keith Waterhouse, Willis Hall and Douglas Livingstone. Produced by Rex Firkin and Verity Lambert.

Two series, each of 13 episodes, were made. Although colour TV had been introduced two years earlier the first four episodes were made in black and white. This was due to industrial action by technicians at producers London Weekend Television, affecting many popular shows which should have been made in colour but were, for the period of the 'colour strike', made in monochrome only. This "colour strike" did not affect just London Weekend Television, it also affected all of the other ITV stations.

A further series may have been planned for 1973 by London Weekend Television, although this coincided with Adam Faith - the star of the show, becoming seriously injured in a car crash and announcing his retirement from acting as a result. For one reason or another, unexplained by LWT, the show did not return when Adam Faith returned to his wellbeing, probably because the show had become forgotten by the viewing public and so would gain low audience figures.

The series was cut short when Faith had a serious car accident in 1973 and nearly lost a limb. ["Faith went into semi-retirement for almost a year in 1973 after he was seriously injured in a car crash, in which he almost lost a leg." http://www.televisionheaven.co.uk/faith.htm Retrieved 31/08/07]

Charles Endell Esq.

In 1979 the character of Charlie Endell was resurrected in the drama Charles Endell Esq., produced by fellow ITV company Scottish Television. In this show Endell had returned to his native Glasgow; As with Budgie the role of Endell was played by Iain Cuthbertson although the character of Budgie was not present. Due to another ITV technicians' strike which took the network completely off the air for three months, the series was postponed and only six episodes were made.

Musical version

A musical - based on the characters of the series (but featuring only Adam Faith from the original TV cast) with book by the script writers of the original series - opened at the Cambridge Theatre, London on October 18 1988 and ran for 3 months.



External links

*imdb title|id = 0065279|title = Budgie
* [http://www.televisionheaven.co.uk/faith.htm Budgie at Television Heaven]

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