Villains on DVD

Villains is a relatively obscure drama serial that was made by London Weekend Television in 1972. It’s also one of the best and most surprising television DVD releases in many years. Not only is it a programme of real power and complexity, but as far as I’m concerned it’s also the key “lost text” of British crime drama in the 1970s. The traditional evolution of this genre usually focuses heavily on the role of Euston Films and Thames Television starting with Mike Hodge’s 16mm experiment Suspect, through Special Branch and The Sweeney and culminating in the sophisticated quasi-art house Out and Fox and the populist comedy-drama of Minder. While that lineage still holds, Villains demonstrates not only that Thames and Euston held…