Pics And Video Blagged From Channel 4's Press Event For Curse

Last night I went to my first Channel 4 Press Event since Adult Material two years ago. That show was postponed because it suddenly had to compete with the Ten O'Clock News and, back then, no one was watching anything else at that time. But this was for Curse, a new comedy thriller series set in the eighties, about a bullion robbery that goes very wrong indeed. It's made by the same folk who made People Just Do Nothing, Murder in Successville and King Gary, and has a familiar cast. And we all piled into Studio 26 at the Leakes Tunnel at Waterloo which had been done up to reflect the TV series.

The Channel 4 show does a great trick of portraying the early eighties by portraying the seventies instead. Because, especially out of the big cities, the eighties didn't look like the eighties, not what we imagine. It still looked like the seventies – and a lot of it still looked like the sixties and fifties in provincial towns. The infringement of carphones is something to be resisted, not welcomed. We have a cast of characters who are stuck in a rut and under pressure, and see criminality as a way out, even if they soon find themselves out of their depths. It's a very British comedy trait to have characters with aspirations that are doomed, to have a version of themselves in their heads that is repeatedly dashed and destroyed by those around them. And Curse just boils that down to its essence by adding the pressure of the crew accidentally stumbling onto the biggest score of their lives. It will not end well. Allan Mustafa is especially impressive, transforming from his People Just Do Nothing of fake swagger and self-belief, to a man who has none, with Emer Kenny as his convincing Lady Macbeth. Tom Davis is utterly, gloriously, batshit ridiculous, Hugo Chegwin spins on a gold penny, given the changing circumstances and audience around him, always convinced he is convincing, though never is. And Steve Stamp is the weaseliest of weasels, living in the moment, wanting love and respect, with no knowledge of how to get either. I need to know what happens next.

 

I saw the first two episodes last night and will be downloading the rest on All4 this Sunday, the 6th of February, as the entire series drops on the All4 app at one minute past midnight in the morning, with episodes airing on Channel 4 at 10 pm every Sunday night going forward from then.

Also, it's been a long two years. This was the first Channel 4 Press Event I attended where I recognised someone solely from their TikTok account. The press event also treated us to a Q&A with the cast and crew (above), who also introduced us all to Allan Mustafa's best mate and wannabe actor Kieron. I met up with him later, and he is indeed a top fellow and has a Nick Frost future ahead of him. But also his new business City Flow Screed, if you need self-levelling floor screed specialists. They provide pumped liquid flow screeds to London and surrounding counties and is happy to give advice and answer any questions you have about your flooring project. You never know who you are going to meet at these things.

Goig To A Press Event For Channel 4's Curse
Pics And Video Blagged From Channel 4's Press Event For Curse

Written by Tom Davis and director James De Frond of Murder in Successville, King Gary starring, of People Just Do Nothing, and Emer Kenny of Pramface, The Curse is a comedy caper set in London in the early 80s focusing on a group of childhood friends who become small-time crooks when a combination of stupidity poor judgment results in them being embroiled in one of the biggest gold heists in history. Here's a Channel 4 breakdown of all six episodes.

  • EPISODE 1 – 'Would You?': It's the East End of London, early 1980s, and times are hard. Ordinary people are turning to crime as a way out of poverty, a way to join in Thatcher's false promise of prosperity for everyone. Albert Fantoni and his wife Natasha run a greasy spoon cafe and are down on their luck – looking for their own way out. Their lives change when one evening Albert and his old mates Phil Pocket, a wannabe gangster, and washed-up ex-boxer Mick Neville meet up with Natasha's brother Sidney at their local pub. Sidney explains that he has a new job at a warehouse that handles cash shipments in transit. Security is almost non-existent and he could easily let the boys in and they could help themselves to as much as £50,000. But what they find there is something quite different – boxes and boxes of gold bullion worth over £30 million. They take it and make their escape. But what they don't know is that this gold will curse them for the rest of their lives.
  • EPISODE 2 – 'Act Normal': News of the robbery has spread fast and wide. It's all over the news, all over the world. The gang is oblivious at first, as they stash the gold in a hiding place and Clive offers what he calls an 'even split' – Albert and his pals take the few grand in cash that they stole and leave dealing with the gold to Clive and Joey. But Mick suspects that's not actually very even at all… Meanwhile, the police are sniffing around. Detective Saunders, as old school as they come, suggests a synchronized raid on every known armed robber in London but his new colleague Thread has an altogether more modern idea. Puzzled by how the gang got into the warehouse with no sign of forced entry, she suspects an inside job and wants to gather the security guards for a reconstruction. Sidney quickly caves and gives the police the names they're looking for. Or so they think …
  • EPISODE 3 – 'The Fear': At a loss for what to do with the stolen gold, the gang set Mick to work hiding it all. Albert and Natasha tell Sidney to keep a low profile, while Phil gets a call telling him to expect an important visitor. At the café, Albert and Natasha receive an important visitor of their own in the shape of Ma McTavish, head of the local crime firm, and her associate Billy English. Ma seems to know all about the robbery and the gold. And the fact that Albert, Natasha, and co are way out of their depth. She explains that she had backed the robbery, and now she will be helping them to monetize it, in exchange for a cut of the proceeds. It's not the friendliest offer of help, and she leaves them in no doubt that they would do well to follow Billy English's instructions. He gives them the address of a safe house, an abandoned farm. But no sooner have the gang set themselves up at the farm than things take a very unexpected turn – and now they're in even more trouble.
  • EPISODE 4 – 'The Monkey and The Cat': A deeply troubled Albert throws himself into smelting gold as fast as Billy can sell it on. The money is rolling in thick and fast but it's dirty money – and Billy tells the gang they can't spend any of it yet. He's set up a meeting with The Baptist, a high-end Swiss money launderer – but not all the gang are invited. And along with Phil receiving some ominous orders from elsewhere, the cracks are starting to show in the gang's friendships.
  • EPISODE 5 – 'Millionaires': Months have passed. The money has been quietly rolling in, and while Albert and Natasha have kept a low profile, Mick and Phil – who haven't spoken to the others in a long while – are living it large. They've bought a nightclub in Soho, Mick's driving a gold Bentley and they're starting to draw unwanted attention to themselves. Sidney, meanwhile, is receiving death threats and needs to get out of town. Billy sets up a meeting to arrange for Sidney to escape to Spain. But the net is closing in on the whole gang – with Ma McTavish on one side and the police on the other, it feels like time is running out. Time to run …
  • EPISODE 6 – 'Somewhere Over The Rainbow': The gang is running out of options. The police are getting closer, watching the cafe night and day. And Ma McTavish is breathing down Mick's neck wanting her share of the gold. The gang has nowhere to turn. It might be time to make a run for it – but how? Well, Albert has a plan. And it just might work …

And since I was at the Leakes tunnel at Waterloo, I thought I'd take a few graffiti shots on my way out…

 

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Rich JohnstonAbout Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.
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