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Hatton Garden, ITV review - ancient burglars bore again | reviews, news & interviews

Hatton Garden, ITV review - ancient burglars bore again

Hatton Garden, ITV review - ancient burglars bore again

The infamous pensioners' heist doesn't improve on a fourth telling

You know the drill: Hatton Garden lags assemble

Have we passed peak Hatton Garden? It’s now four years since a gang of old lags pulled off the biggest heist of them all. They penetrated a basement next door to a safe-deposit company, drilled through the wall, and made off with many millions quids’ worth in diamonds, cash and the like. All but one of them ended up in prison, where they will probably see out their days, being all of them well past pensionable age.

Owing to the age of the criminals, the story had immense appeal to that section of the British film industry that rushes to glamorise London gangsters. The burglary triggered a feeding frenzy among production companies and elderly English actors. First out of the traps was Hatton Garden: The Heist with a cast you've never heard of. Next came The Hatton Garden Job, a film which drowned itself in a quagmire of clichés with a cheerful C list cast (Larry Lamb, David Calder, Phil Daniels, Clive Russell). Last year brought King of Thieves, another film version directed by James Marsh, who assembled screen royalty in Michaels Caine and Gambon, Ray Winstone, Tom Courtenay and Jim Broadbent and still couldn’t entirely defibrillate a comical story of dishonour among thieves. Limping over the line is Hatton Garden (ITV), which switches the story to television, where it will play out over four consecutive nights.

Its broadcast has been much delayed, which doesn’t do the drama any favours. The story has been told so often it is now as familiar as Little Red Riding Hood and there’s room for doubt that there are any new angles to explore. The idea this time round is that there'll be no effort to romanticise a genuinely unpleasant group of career criminals as loveable rogues. But the plan to string the story out to four hours seems optimistic. The script is in the hands of Jeff Pope, who has a knack for capturing a certain kind of indomitable working-class Englishness in such dramas as Mrs Biggs, Cilla and the Danny Baker biocom Cradle to Grave. (He also wrote the charming Stan & Ollie.)

The problem with the Hatton Garden codgers is there are only so many side-splitting jokes to go round about old men asking their failing bodies to do a young man's job (in so far as burglary is a job). Far more than the other versions, this so far feels like a double concerto with other characters slotting in behind. In this telling, Kenneth Cranham plays gang leader Brian Reader as a dictatorial grump while Timothy Spall offers Terry Perkins as a variation on his back catalogue of beta males.

The first episode ended with the two leads screaming at each other about heavy machinery, which made a change from watching old men operating heavy machinery. “I told you!” screamed Cranham. “You shoulda put the pump up the other end!” It's not quite up there with blowing the bloody doors off. The script is depth-charged with portents and auguries and hostages to fortune, planted for dramatic irony. These efforts feel a touch redundant when everyone knows how it ends, and can be forgiven for not seeing this latest telling out. 

@JasperRees

There are only so many side-splitting jokes about old men asking their failing bodies to do a young man's job (in so far as burglary is a job)

rating

Editor Rating: 
2
Average: 2 (1 vote)

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