Venue: 22 Green St
Price: Free entry
‘Gangsters’ was an underworld drama set in Birmingham in the mid-to-late 1970s. It started on the BBC’s ‘Play for Today’ and subsequently ran for two series, featuring a large, multicultural cast of characters that battled for control of the city. Through endless liaisons and chases in memorably grim urban locations, its storyline became increasingly surreal and self-referential as the show went on.
Now, over the course of one weekend in a Digbeth warehouse, 7inch Cinema will immerse visitors in the world of this unique and rarely seen television programme. By tracking down a host of bit-part players and briefly-glimpsed locations ‘Gangsters’ will explore Birmingham as both a real and imagined place, marking some of the changes it has been through over the past thirty years and tracing the city’s appetite for demolition and renewal.
The idea for the original programme was born from three months of field research by the writer Philip Martin. In turn, the exhibition will attempt to reconnect Martin’s screen version of the city’s underworld with the real-life stories that inspired it. And as darkness closes in on Saturday, elements of burlesque, Bollywood, and Kung Fu will be used to set the scene as we embark on an epic and perverse mission to watch all eleven hours of the show, starting with ex-SAS man John Kline’s release from Winson Green prison and ending early on Sunday morning with his demise at the hands of the sinister ‘White Devil’.
We are open to the public from 2pm. We'll still be finishing off the display and soundchecking but you can get tea & cake and have a poke around.
Saturday night / Sunday morning
From 8pm things really get started. We open with the Play for Today (1975) which kicked the whole thing off, then at 10pm there's a bit of live entertainment:: a special 70s instrumental set by Pram, and a response to Gangsters from local comedian Nadeem Rangzeb. Then, for the truly committed, both series of Gangsters (1976-1978) in their entirety. Ending sometime around 9am the next day, with free breakfast for those who stay the distance.
Throughout the day you can pick through the debris, attempt to locate that underpass you spotted in episode 4, and even experience the real Birmingham. At midday a walking tour of some key Gangsters locations will be leaving the warehouse, led by artist Darryl Georgiou.
More images and info at the Gangsters project page.