Tuesday, 13 November 2012

"Civvies" (1992 BBC TV Serial)

Civvies was a six part TV series which was made and aired on BBC 1 in 1992.
Written by author and screenwriter Lynda la Plante, the series tells the story of a group of ex paratroopers as they struggle to adapt to life on "Civvy street".

The series attracted a lot of complaints at the time, mainly revolving around the level of violence shown on screen (even though the program was shown post 9pm on a Sunday night), as well as the sometimes unfavourable depiction of former servicemen, and as such, the series itself has never been repeated, and has never officially been released on video or DVD.

The series proper is set in 1992 (the year it was aired) and follows several interwoven plot lines, making heavy use use of flashback sequences, which presumably are set some time during the mid 1980s (judging by some of the dialogue which occurs between the main characters when they refer to past events) and are set against the backdrop of 1PARA doing a tour in Northern Ireland during "The Troubles".

The series has a "main" story arc, but each episode generally centres around the life events of one of the main characters, helping to fill in their background and round out their part in the overall main plot arc.

The background music for the series makes heavy use of the song "Brothers in arms" by Dire Straits, as well as the song "Go and be brave", sung by series actor Lennie James (Series Intro here) with it serving ans the series' intro theme and playing during any dramatic or emotional scenes, with the sombre lyrics really helping the viewer to empathise with the predicaments that the main characters find themselves in.

As the series has never been released officially for home viewing, I have recently watched it "by other means", as i had been looking for the series for years having watched it when it originally aired, but wanting to watch the series again as memories of it still linger, but at the time when i first saw it, I did not understand many of the more intricate plot details (hey, I was 11), and thus was quite pleased to find it online.

As i said, each episode deals with one of the individuals, as well as forming part of the overall story arc, so what follows is a fairly detailed synopsis of each episode, with the character focus given in parenthesis..

Episode #1 ("Frank")

Some time after narrowly avoiding being killed by an IRA bomb in a pub while serving in Northern Ireland, Sgt Frank Dillon (Jason Isaacs in an early TV role) decides after 15 years of service in the British Army that he has had enough, as he wants to see his two boys grow up. He is cashiered to the value of £5000 and leaves the Parachute Regiment barracks for the last time.
 On his way home, he meets up with Jimmy (Edward O'Connell), "Taffy" (John Francis), Wally (Gareth Marks), Cliff (Lennie James) and Harry (Seamus O'Neill), all former members of his unit, in the pub for a quick drink. As they go to leave to indulge in some "Paddy bashing" (Jimmy receives a phone call to say that a group of Irish men are in a local snooker club, implying that they make a habit out of unprovoked attacks against Irish nationals in Britain), Frank finds another former member of the unit, Steve (Peter Howitt), passed out drunk in the corner. Jimmy tells Frank to leave him where he is, as Steve is now a penniless alcoholic after receiving a medical discharge from the army after a sniper shot him in the throat while they were in Ireland, but Frank insists on taking Steve with them, as, like in the army, they are supposed to help each other.
After the resulting fight with the "paddys", Frank allows Steve to stay at his house, as Steve appears to be homeless, much to the chagrin of his wife Susie. As it turns out, Steve was given £100,000 on his discharge from the army, but managed to be swindled out of £25,000 of it by a con man after he used much of the remainder to set up a nightclub business, which subsequently failed due to Steve's descent into alcoholism.
A combination of his alcoholism, coupled with the fact that Steve cannot speak clearly due to his permanent tracheotomy (the end result of his throat wound) means that Steve finds it extremely difficult to form any kind of interpersonal relationships, and thus has fell into a deep depression, Frank sees this and takes Steve under his wing, trying his best to get his life back on track by reintroducing him to some military discipline.
While Frank and Steve do some basic PT exercises outside his house, Jimmy arrives and introduces Frank to Mr. Newman (Peter O'Toole), a "legitimate businessman" whom Jimmy has close ties to and has done work for in the four years he has been out of the army. Mr. Newman has the utmost respect for the former servicemen, Frank especially, as Frank was his son Billy's Sergeant while they were in Ireland (Billy was one of the new recruits killed in the pub bombing). He offers Frank a job, cash in hand, working alongside Jimmy, but Frank turns the offer down, as he wants to remain "legit", knowing full well that any job Newman offers him will not be above board.  Frank goes to the jobcentre to sign on, but is humiliated by the jobcentre staff who fail to appreciate his experience in the army. Him and Steve manage to find jobs as labourers on a building site, but after again being humiliated by the smart arse builders, him and Steve dramatically leave the site by climbing the scaffolding and leaping off site.
Desperate for money, Frank accepts Newman's offer of work, and he and Jimmy find themselves transporting a bag of smuggled diamonds to an unspecified location in London, receiving instructions for the drop off on route by phone. They collect the cash for the diamonds and go to the place where they are supposed to be picked up, but their ride never comes, and they find themselves being followed by someone. They try to lose him, but the man gives chase so in the end they manage to lure the man into an alleyway and beat him up, Jimmy checks the mans wallet, and find out he was a plain clothes policeman, they quickly leave the scene and manage to return home.
Susie warns Frank that they are behind with the bills and the rent on the house, Frank angrilly rebuffs her and reveals that he didn't leave the army for her or the kids as she believed, but because he had become aware that the army would not allow him to advance any further than the rank of Sergeant due to his perception of the army's policy of wanting well educated, privileged candidates in command positions. he then goes on to have a rant about how being in the Falklands was the best time of his life as they were basically given free reign to do as they pleased (it is heavilly implied that the real reason behind Franks lack of promotion came due to his instability caused by post traumatic stress disorder) . Susie offers to get a job to help bring some money into the house, but Frank says that no wife of his will have to work, he then spends the rest of the night sat getting drunk with Steve and reminiscing about their army days. 

Episode #2 ("Taffy")

 The episode begins with a flashback to the pub bombing, showing Taffy and Harry stumbling from the burning building carrying wounded survivors. The scene moves forward to present day, and Taffy is having trouble with his next door neighbours who continually play loud music, thus meaning that Taffy, who has also been suffering from flashbacks, has been unable to get a nights sleep for quite some time and it is starting to affect his sanity, as is his inability to get a job. He calls Frank and tells him his woes, but Frank seems vacant and uncaring, so Taffy hangs up the phone and returns home to find bailiffs clearing out his house, a situation which he doesn't help by threatening them and then smashing things up so they cant take them.  
Frank and Steve meet with Cliff, who has organised some work for them as chauffeur/body guards to two foreign businessmen (who turn out to be arms dealers), but it is left up to them to organise their own limo, which Steve says he can cover, but the promised car fails to materialise, which causes Franks patience with Steve to start becoming stretched. Frank talks to Jimmy, who says he can sort a limo out for them. Taffy once again rings Frank to tell him his woes, which annoys him as he has his own problems. An argument ensues between Frank and Suzie, in which she states that she is sick of Franks unexplained mood swings, which Frank wont admit that the flashbacks he is having are causing him to become irritable. Frank has also begun gambling heavily, taking every available penny to the betting shop and mostly losing.
Taffy once again returns home to hear next door once again making a racket, which he mostly ignores as he, by rote, systematically cleans and lays out his old army kit on the bed, all while his children look on dejectedly. He eventually notices them, and rather bizarrely, gathers up some soft toys and throws them at their feet, before going back to polishing his boots.
Frank and Steve dress in their chauffeurs uniforms and begin their new job, and all seems well, as Frank comes home in good spirits for the first time since he left the army, where he apologises for his earlier behaviour and him and Suzie seemingly put the problems they have been having behind them.
Meanwhile, Taffy, who has been constantly polishing his boots, has another flashback to Ireland, in which the song "Great balls of fire" by Jerry Lee Lewis plays over a scene of the group enjoying a drink in the pub before the bomb went off, he then dresses in his army uniform, goes next door and smashes up the neighbours stereo, drum kit and all his records before threatening the young man whose house it is, before he marches off at the double, telling his wife that he is going for a drink down the pub. She later rings Frank to tell him what has happened but once again, Frank has problems of his own so isn't particularly interested as he and Steve are out working.
Taffy sits alone in the pub when the young man from next door enters with two friends and begins threatening Taffy with a knife, In short order, Taffy finishes his pint, disarms the youth and then slits his throat, before threatening his friends into running away, he then picks up his pack and calmly walks away.
Frank and Steve have noticed that they are being followed, their passengers do not recognise the car following them so Steve begins driving evasively in an effort to lose them, but it fails so as a last ditch effort, they run the other car off the road, only to find the two men in the other car are police officers, so they are all arrested. After spending a night in the cells, Frank finds out that the chauffeuring job was not as legit as he had been led to believe, as the security firm that Cliff had said they were working for says they have no record of employing them, and as it turns out, Steve is also banned from driving and thus has no licence or insurance, and so facing a hefty bill for damage to the car, Frank and Steve are released without charge.
Frank comes home to find that Taffys wife has been calling his house all day. Jimmy arrives in a foul mood and tells them that the car is a complete write off, and Mr. Newman isn't happy with them, Frank angrily replies they wouldnt have used it if he had known that the car belonged to Newman.
Taffy has clearly gone insane, as he breaks into the Parachute regiments barracks and begins obssessively running around the assault course, trying to beat the new recruits, which he does. Frank, Cliff, Steve and Jimmy arrive on the scene to find the MPs and police searching the barracks for him, but Frank spots Taffy hiding and goes to talk to him.
Taffy breaks down crying when Frank tells him the youth has died, and says he is ready to give himself up, but not before putting Frank onto a job working in Scotland as gamekeepers at a salmon farm which has been having problems with a group of very well organised poachers.
Frank marches Taffy to the MPs, where he gives himself up without incident and is escorted away by the police, as Frank, Steve, Jimmy and Cliff salute him as he is led away.

Episode #3 ("Steve")

Frank, Jimmy, Steve and Cliff travel up to Scotland where they meet up with Harry, who introduces them to Don (John Hannah), another ex paratrooper who is the estate they will be working on's assistant gamekeeper. Harry is upset at seeing Steve among the group, labeling him as a "drunken prat", a moniker which he manages to live up to as he more or less immediately gets drunk in the hotel bar. While there, the hotel owner regails them with a tale of how a handsome bounty of £3000 will be paid to anyone who shoots it, meanwhile, both Frank and Steve take a shine to Sissy, the estates attractive restaurant manager.
Back at home, Suzie has gone against Franks wishes and got herself a job as a dispatcher for Mr Marway, a very generous Indian taxi firm owner, whom also offers to teach her how to drive.
The boys begin their first day on the job, and Frank finds out that Tony Malone, another former para whom he blames for the pub bomb not being detected before it went off (a flashback shows that it was Malones duty to search the pub for bombs etc before the paras had their party there, which he did and found nothing. After the bomb went off, Malone fled the scene in terror instead of trying to help the wounded) 
The estate manager, Mr. Griffiths, gives them a tour of the fish farm, and explains that the poachers have become better equipped and better organised recently, and the previous year cleared the entire farm out in one swoop as they came equipped with equipment for storing and freezing the fish, if the same happens this year the estate will go bankrupt. Jimmy spots the stag that was mentioned earlier, and begins hatching a plan to shoot it and collect the bounty, but is warned off by Don, as the Stag is worth much more to the estate in stud, Frank then reveals he has found out that the bounty is actually £5000, and not £3000 as they were told.
As Steve goes back to the hotel to get supplies, Sissy approaches him and tells him that two local boys are planning on going after the stag, which will lead them on to the estate, where they could be mistaken for poachers and possibly killed, instead of returning to give the message to Frank, Steve instead gets drunk.
After nightfall, the group has set up a hidden camp, along with a series of traps intended to warn them if anyone crosses the fence surrounding the farm. Steve drunkenly staggers back to the camp, and accidentally sets off one of the traps, which causes him to panic and hit the deck. Don quickly arrives and finds him, but the distraction has allowed the two local boys, as well as another man on a motorbike to sneak in in the confusion. Cliff, Harry and Malone ambush the two boys and tie them up, but Malone takes it too far by viciously beating the prisoners with the butt of his shotgun , Frank steps in to stop him but by then he has already administered a vicious beating.
The next morning, both Cliff and Harry complain to Frank about Steves drunken behaviour, Frank says he will sort it out, but then Malone delivers the news that Mr. Griffiths has ordered that all the groups firearms be taken back to the estate to be locked away, as the two local boys reported the beating Malone gave them to the police. Jimmy reveals that he has noticed that £1000 out of the groups equipment budget has gone missing, and as he gave it to Malone to buy equipment with, he must have stolen it.
While checking in their weapons with Mr. Griffiths, Frank strikes a deal with him, if Frank and his lads sort out the poaching situation, he will sack Malone and give his job to Don, as well as a big cash in hand bonus payment to everyone else in the group, as he too is sick of Malones antics and overall poor performance.
Frank once again finds that Steve has spent all day drinking in the hotel bar and has to put him to bed with some assistance from Sissy, this job done, Frank and Sissy slip into one of the other vacant rooms to have sex. Steve wakes up and staggers drunkenly out of his room, and walks in on them, before then staggering away angry. after Frank has left, Steve bursts into Sissys room and attempts to rape her, but in his inebriated state only manages to punch her in the face before collapsing drunkenly on the bed crying
Sometime later that day, Steve is staggering back to camp along an open road when a large truck speeds past him, he follows the truck to a makeshift camp, where he sees the poachers loading motorbikes and equipment onto the vehicle. He manages to get back to camp and deliver the warning, and Frank quickly comes up with a plan. The poachers come after dark, and easily break through the fence, setting off the hidden flare traps that warn of their coming, but they quickly make their way to the fish pens, where Don tries to attack them with his guard dogs, but finds that the poachers all have guns, so he surrenders. Steve tires to attack the men on motor bikes, but fails utterly, Malone also has a crack at the bikers, thinking that the shotgun he has will scare them off, but he finds himself quickly outwitted and disarmed, so he runs for it, back to the estate. Don sits and watches as the poachers clean out the fish pens and pack the fish in ice before triumphantly driving away with their loot, however as they drive down one of the dark country lanes, the see a police car blocking the road. the policeman approaches them and asks for assistance as his car has broken down, the poachers in the cab jump out to help, but it is only then that the policeman turns out to be Frank in disguise, having borrowed a police uniform and car from the police officers who were in the area to investigate the complaint the two local boys made. In short order, Harry, Cliff and Jimmy burst out of the bushes and overwhelm the poachers, before handing them over to the police.
The morning after, Malone reports to Mr. Griffiths that Frank and his group have failed, and all the fish have been stolen, only for him to have to eat his words as Frank drives up in the truck which is laden with already frozen and packed fish, ready to be sold. Frank then calls Malone out, demanding that he return the £1000 he stole from them, or make it double or quits if he wants to fight him. Malone attacks Frank, but after a drawn out fight, Frank defeats him.
The group returns to the hotel, where Jimmy hands out the groups wages plus bonus for a successfully completed job, and informs them that Malone has been sacked and Don is now the head gamekeeper. Jimmy also suggests getting the stag as well for the bounty, but Frank tells him to leave it, as he respects the stags freedom. Malone comes and hands over £2000 as he promised, and tells Frank that he is sorry for what happened in Ireland, but it really wasn't his fault, Frank coldly thanks him for the money.
Frank goes to say his final goodbye to Sissy, and is appauled to learn what Steve did to her. He embarks on an impassioned speech about the feeling of freedom andjust carrying on as though nothing happened, before he finally says goodbye and heads outside to where Jimmy and the gang wait in Jimmys jeep. He silently grabs Steves duffel bag and pulls him to the side, he then gives him his cut of the payout and tells him he is on his own. Jimmy tearfully watches the others drive away, knowing that Franks patience in him has now gone.
Steve is then shown living rough out in the countryside, where he stands staring vacantly out onto a loch while wearing his red para beret. He spots the stag on a nearby hillside, and picks up a hunting rifle and aims at it, a shot rings out, but the stag is shown running away unharmed, instead, Steve lays dead in the grass, having shot himself in the head.

 Episode #4 ("Jimmy")

 Frank and Jimmy clear Steves stuff out of Franks spare room, which amounts to little more than a single bin bag, which amounts to little more than a few items of clothing and a lot of empty bottles. Frank muses over whether he did the right thing by abandoning him, but Jimmy points out that Steve was bound to die sooner or later, if not from the suicide then he would have drunk himself to death, or someone else would have killed him. Jimmy muses that the club that Steve had could have been a good earner, if Steve hadn't spent all his time getting drunk, Frank points out that Jimmy helped him set the club up, and Jimmy says he did, as well as finding the premises for Franks new business venture, a security firm called "Stag Security", which has been financed with the money they got from doing the Scotland job.
The premises turn out to be a dilapidated office in a seedy part of town, with a brothel on the next floor up, although Frank pays particular attention to the betting shop across the road.
The offices are quickly set up, although Frank is a bit pissed off that they end up being painted pink as Harry managed to get a deal on some cheap paint, but all they had was pink. Jimmy helps out by getting hold of some office equipment on the cheap, as well as assisting with bypassing the electricity and telephone lines so they get phone and power for free, Frank isn't happy about this because he wants everything to be above board, but as Harry points out, they don't even have a security van or any cars yet, and with very little money left over from their initial kitty, every penny counts. Jimmy once again manages to sort out an armoured van and a limo on a "no questions asked" basis, and it finally seems like things are starting to look up, however after a few days, the new company still doesn't have any work.
Mr. Marway tells Frank and Jimmy that if they employ more than six people, they will become eligible for a government business loan, and offers to help them get one by acting as a guarantor.
Jimmy says that Mr. Newman will give them £2500 cash if they pick up some stuff form a customs warehouse for him, and Frank reluctantly agrees, so they go and pick up several crates containing wooden elephants from India, which Jimmy assures Frank are legit as Newman is planning to sell them on market stalls. After they have made the pickup, Mr. Newman comes personally to thank them for their help, and hands over the payment in cash to Harry, but Frank still suspects that something is not quite right, but once again, Jimmy reassures him that Newman can be trusted. Cliff announces that he is getting married to his long term girlfriend, so Mr. Newman gives him one of the elephants as a gift.
Again, work dries up so they end up doing another pick up for Newman, but as they are bringing the crates into the office for storage, Harry drops one and breaks the elephant inside, Cliff says he will swap the one he has for the broken one and no one will be any the wiser, but his girlfriend Shirley notes that the one they had had red eyes, while the replacement one has green eyes, she isn't best pleased but doesn't press the issue.

Frank and Susie end up arguing again, as Frank says he does not want her working for a "paki", but she points out that her job was the only income they had while Frank was away in Scotland, he later goes round to Mr. Marways' taxi firm and demands that Suzie quit, but after Mr. Marway sits and talks to him and gives him some business advice, the two strike an uneasy friendship. Franks flashbacks begin to get more often and intense, as he explains to Suzie he is worried about Jimmys continued involvement in the company, due to his strong connections with Newman.
Harry, who is currently homeless and sleeping at the Stag security offices, is woken in the middle of the night by two burglars, who attack him but he easily subdues them. When Frank, Cliff and Jimmy arrive the next morning, Jimmy recognises the two burglars as some of Newmans' goons, one of whom tells them that they came looking for the elephant that Cliff broke and switched with his own. Frank and Harry go round to Cliffs house to examine the elephant, but find that it isn't hollow, so it can be full of drugs or anything like that, so they are unsure as to what value it has to Newman. Jimmy visits Newman, who tells him that he wants the elephant back immediately, and to hammer home the point, he arranges for his goons to pick Franks kids up from school before Suzie can get there.
Jimmy keeps trying to make off with the elephant which Frank now has at his house, but is stopped at every attempt, the phone rings and Frank finds out who has his kids, and arranges a meeting to pick them up, where he tells the goons that he will deliver the elephant to Newman personally.
Frank tells Jimmy to tell him what he knows about what is going on, as he swears that if anything happens to his family in any way over this, he will take revenge. Jimmy again says that all Newman wants is the elephant, Frank picks it up to examine it once again, and notices that the green beads that are the elephants eyes are not glass beads, but cut emeralds, a fact further confirmed when Harry hits one with a hammer and it escapes unscathed, but destroys the desk in the process.
Frank goes to see Newman, and hands him the elephant, which is now missing its eyes as well as a few other decorations, he then produces a plastic bag containing the gems, as well as what appears to be pearls and silver. He says he knows what Newman is up to, and will give him the stuff back and keep his mouth shut so long as Newman leaves him and his business alone, as well as providing him with a legitimate lease on the building they occupy (which Newman owns) as well as some improvements to the facilities, Newman gladly agrees, but during the course of the meeting, it becomes clear that Jimmy has been lying to them about his level of involvement with Newman, and once the meeting is concluded, Frank tells Jimmy that things are over between them, and that he never wants to see or speak to him again.
Soon after, things start to pick up, the companies business loan is approved, and the company starts to get regular work, Frank finally is content with his lot, but on his way home to deliver the good news to Suzie, he finds a semi drunken Jimmy waiting for him.
Jimmy pleads with Frank to forgive him, but Frank berates him for not understanding that success can only be achieved through hard work and dedication, as there is no such thing as easy money. Jimmy angrily tells Frank that if that is the case then he is going to leave completely, and embarks on an passionate ramble about how much Frank and his family mean to him, ending with him kissing Frank (thus implying that Jimmy is in fact homosexual and likes Frank) Frank angrily rebuffs the advance, and walks away after punching him. Frank has another flashback to the night of the bombing, where he sees Jimmy returning inside the burning building several times to bring out the wounded, he snaps out of it and realises the mistake he has made in alienating him, but as he calls after him, Jimmy simply drives away, never to be seen nor heard from again.

Episode #5 ("Harry")

Some time has passed since the end of the last episode , and Stag Security is enjoying a bit of a boom period, so much so that Frank throws a party with the duel intention of celebrating their success, and recruiting more ex servicemen to work for them. All is going well, until Cliff puts "Great balls of fire" on the record player (the song that was playing when the bomb exploded), which causes Frank to have a horrendous and graphic flashback to the night of the bombing, this time he sees images of the dead and dying laying amongst the burning rubble. He begins angrily demanding to know who put it on, and Harry realises there is something wrong and drags him outside to get some fresh air. He confesses to Harry that the flashbacks are getting worse and more intense, before saying that Wally has told him that he suspects that the two men who were responsible for the bombing are living somewhere in London. Harry dismisses the suggestion, and says that they should concentrate on the business, Frank agrees. One of their neighbours complains about the noise, and the fact that people are pissing and throwing bottles over the railing of the flat block on to the street below, Frank, who is by now extremely drunk, apologises, but after the neighbour says that she is going to ring the police, it causes Frank to have another flashback. this time round, he remembers a time when he and his unit were guarding a checkpoint, and he and Jimmy gleefully victimised a woman and her son, subjecting them to a torrent of physical and verbal abuse. Jimmy searches the pickup truck they were in, but after he pulls back a tarpaulin covering the flatbed, he opens fire with his submachine gun. The woman screams at him because he has just shot their dog, Jimmy makes a half arsed apology and says it startled him, so Frank tells him to finish it off, which he gleefully does. Frank makes a joke about the Irish having cannibal stew for dinner that night, as all of them are animals, they then walk away, leaving the woman sobbing in anguish, being comforted by her son..Frank back in present day, slumps drunkenly against a wall, the womans cries echoing through his ears.
Suzie finds him and tells him that their kids are upset because people keep walking into their bedroom while they are trying to sleep. Frank comforts the boys, and offers to sit with them while they go back to sleep, this causes him to muse over another incident in his past.
Frank and his unit, in cooperation with the RUC raid a house in the early hours of the morning, finding only a woman and her 7 children in the house. After the ground floor is trashed and nothing is found, Frank heads upstairs, where he bursts into the kids bedroom where all 7 kids are sleeping and begins trashing the place. the kids are understandably terrified, even more so when one of the other soldiers there begins threatening the eldest ones with his rifle. Frank shouts downstairs that he thinks he has found something in the babies crib, jimmy drags the mother upstairs by her hair and orders her to take the baby out of the crib, as well as hurling insults at her. Frank searches the crib but finds nothing hidden in it, nonetheless, the mother is dragged outside and arrested, she calls Frank and his men animals, and he responds by threatening her kids, a priest approaches him and asks why they did this, and Frank for a brief second has a look of remorse on his face.
Harry enters the room and snaps him out of it, and tells him that he intends to check out the tip off that Wally gave him, Frank simply nods in agreement, then Harry reminds him of the pact they made to get revenge on the men who planted the bomb. Frank remember the night of the bombing once again, this time in greater detail. He recalls seeing two strange men in the pub, who left shortly after the Paras arrived, and he sees Billy Newman leave to go to the toilet. Frank himself goes to the toilet, just as Billy returns and sits down. Under Billys seat is a carrier bag containing the bomb, which explodes just as Frank is coming back. He enters the room to see bodies strewn around, with the survivors either making for the exits, or trying to help the wounded. He finds Billy, who is barely alive but badly burned.

The next day as Harry is driving around in the companies limo, he spots a man he recognises as one of the bombers, he isn't sure though, but takes a picture of him to show to Frank.
Cliff is at home ill, and Shirley tells him she is pregnant, Cliff doesn't take the news very well.
Harry catches up with Frank, who is in the betting shop over the road from the office, he tells him he thinks he has seen one of the men they're looking for, but Frank is more interested in his gambling.
Later, Frank tries to make things up with Suzie by presenting her with a series of gifts, bought with gambling winnings and money from the companies business loan, but the attempt to placate her soon devolves into an argument, ending when Suzie accidentally falls down the stairs, breaking her arm.
Harry has begun obsessively stalking the man he saw, and compares pictures he has taken with mugshots taken from army files of the suspects, the man he has seen indeed resembles one of the mugshots. Harry then begins assembling a silenced sniper rifle he has aquired from his black market contacts.

As Frank proudly announces the company is finally in profit, Harry presents his evidence to him, and he finds it convincing enough to agree to go with Harry to visit the house where the man is living.
They break in late at night and begin searching the house, there is evidence there that the man is not alone there, as Frank sees several sleeping bags in an upstairs room, as well as several dirty plates on the kitchen dining table. The occupier of the house suddenly becomes aware that something is amiss and comes out of the front room to investigate, Harry kills him with a single shot from his rifle. When they examine the body, the man isn't who they were looking for, which means they have just committed murder. Frank hurriedly leaves, while Harry sets fire to the house by tipping over an electric fire and pouring whisky around, to make it look like an accident. 

Frank and Harry return and stay the night at the Stag office, where Harry once again tries to get Frank to support him in his search for the bombers, but Frank says hes had enough of thinking about the past, and to just let it go, Harry says he can't, but Frank says if that's what he wants to do he doesn't want anything to do with him any more, Harry reluctantly agrees.

Episode #6 ("Cliff")

Cliff and Harry arrive to pick up the payroll from a laundry, completely unaware that their movements are being watched by a man across the street. Frank worriedly checks the local newspaper to see if there are any reports about the murder he and Harry committed in the last episode, there is nothing. He also asks Arnie, the man who owns the garage where they get their cars fixed if he can lend him some money, Arnie refuses as Frank already owes him a fair bit.
As Cliff and Harry drive along the motorway, their van is run off on to a slip road by a truck filled with masked thugs, one of whom waves a gun at them through the window, and in the ensuing robbery their security van is trashed after the robbers blow the back doors off and shoot out the tyres. As the robbers make to leave, Harry leaps from the van and tackles one of the thugs, disarming him, but eventually is overcome when the thug kicks him in the groin and runs away. Cliff picks up the thugs shotgun and fires a few shots at the robbers retreating van, but they get away with the money regardless. Harry recovers and uses the shotgun to further damage the van, to make it look like the robbery was more violent than it was, he then decides to keep the shotgun for himself, as Cliff tells him he recognised one of the robbers as being one of Newmans goons.
Frank isn't very happy that the van was robbed, but as Harry has notified the police, he soon calms down a bit, but says that as their van was only insured for 3rd party, they wont be able to recoup the cost of replacing it through insurance.
Cliff and Harry go to visit Wally and Johnny (Johnny mentions that he is finding it difficult to find work, and is later seen working for Newman), who are doing some work for them as doormen outside a nightclub, and while they are talking Cliff notices the truck used by the robbers drive past, They go see Frank who at first insists that they leave it to the police, but when Cliff tells him that one of the robbers was one of Newmans goons. Frank, remembering his promise to Newman that if he interfered in their business he would get him becomes angry, and using some of the night ops gear that Jimmy had left behind, they go to Newmans warehouse and break in.
While searching the property for evidence of the robbery, they blow open the safe and find the laundry's payroll still in in the pay packets, as well as a box of precious gems and a silenced pistol. Harry makes to steal the pistol and the gems, but Frank stops him, saying that they are only looking for evidence to take to the police, but then Newman and his men come back unexpectedly, to they have to make a hasty escape.
Newman knows it was Frank who broke in, because as well as seeing his car parked on the street, Frank shouts a challenge to him from the roof top as they escape. He orders his men to tidy the warehouse up and remove all evidence there was a break in, before giving the box of gems to one of his head goons and telling him to take it to Spain to hide out for a while, he also instructs the other head goon to make a phone call to the police.
Back at the office, Frank tells the others it is his intention to take the recovered wage packets and the shotgun to the police, but is interrupted by Suzie, who now works full time at the security office, demanding to know why Arnie has said he intends to keep the car (which had been damaged by Newmans goons) until Frank pays him back the money he owes him. She also states that she knows that Frank has been lying to her about his gambling habit, having run up a massive bill at the betting shop, as well as not making any repayments on the business loan that Mr. Marway arranged for them. Before Frank has a chance to make any kind of reply, the office is raided by the police, who after a search finds the pay packets and the gun used in the robbery, they are all arrested on suspicion of carrying out the robbery themselves.
Frank, Harry and Cliff are questioned, but are uncooperative, as Frank says he will not divulge what they know about the true robbers until they promise police protection for their families. While Frank and Harry are resolute, the Inspector in charge notices that Cliff is very shaky, and tells his subordinates to concentrate on him. In an interview with his solicitor, Frank learns that the shotgun they had was also used in several other robberies recently, and as such, the police suspect that they carried them out themselves, this, along with the pay packets found on the premises, plus the fact that the night ops gear they were wearing matches the description of the clothing worn by the robbers at previous robberies, and the fact that the company is in financial trouble, means that things are looking very grim indeed, and unless Frank talks soon, they could all very well end up going down for several counts of robbery.
Cliff is pressured into naming Newman as the mastermind behind the robberies, but when the Inspector visits him, he lies and says that he has had little to no contact with Frank, and as the Inspector can clearly see, his business premises have not been broken into (it is also implied that the police Inspector is somehow associated with Newman, as when Frank is being taken away to prison, he sees the Inspector talking with Newman). Newman also explains that he had had nothing but respect for Frank and his friends, as they had looked after his son while in Ireland, but as Frank has rebuffed and insulted him on numerous occasions, that respect had long since dried up.

Shirley, now heavily pregnant, visits Cliff in prison, where he breaks down crying as he professes his innocence to her. Suzie also visits Frank, who finally confesses to her that his flashbacks to the night of the bombing have been the cause of his instability, and have led him to make some silly choices recently.
In court, Cliff, Harry and Frank are convicted of armed robbery, getting 9, 11 and 12 years respectively. As sentence is passed, Frank muses ironically on the earlier incident when he told Harry not to take the law into his own hands.
The Inspector telephones Newman and tells him that he will not be called as a witness, Newman smiles to himself as we see Frank sitting alone in his prison cell, where he has one final flashback to the night of the bombing.


  1. Do you know anywhere this series Civvies is available to watch online? I loved it as a 12 year old, it'd be interesting to watch now to see what I liked about it.

    1. There were some episodes uploaded to youtube, but not the full series. i managed to get the entire series on a very low quality VHS rip from the "corsairs cove" ;)