Chancer, Series 2

The Times; London (UK); 1991; unknown;

Chancer turned out to be a one-idea idea, and the second series pushed along by a succession of improbable scams and ending with one of those warehouse shoot-outs that even the Dirty Harry movies gave up years ago should never have been made. The trick was that you never quite knew whether Clive Owen's fantastical wheelings and dealings would end in tears, but by the end of the final episode everybody was in tears.

His friends, enemies, even his girlfriend's ghost seemed to be bawling their eyes out at variously wasted loves, lives and opportunities. The only member of the cast who didn't cry was the baby, which is odd, considering that it had been kept captive in a cardboard box for days, blasted at with a shotgun and shuffled from hand to hand like the booby prize in a pass-the-parcel game.

Maybe the child was just glad the thing was over. The main waste was of Michael Kitchen, an actor of astonishing skills who should be doing better things than playing psychotic boyfriends of unlovable women in not-good-enough pop dramas.

Despite his effortless ability to steal a scene, however, he didn't get the best moment. That came in the penultimate episode, when (in order to con money out of the banks) Owen and Peter Vaughan scandalised the neighbourhood by threatening to build an ugly, tasteless, vulgar theme park in the grounds of an impoverished stately home.

Many thanks to Deb for digging out this review.