Thursday 14 December 2023

Big Deal: Do You Remember Robbie Box?

Back in the 80s there was a real buzz about Big Deal.

I’m sure many gamblers remember this TV program that appeared on our screens from 1984 – 1986 starring Ray Brooks, Sharon Duce and Lisa Geoghan. In fact, it had an excellent cast and a fine production by the BBC.

The theme music was on point, performed by Buck’s Fizz member Bobby G.

It was created by Geoff McQueen and written by David Crane. It was released as a comedy-drama but it really captured the lifestyle of a gambler and Robbie Box was a character many would-be professional gamblers could associate.

I looked forward to watching the three series with my Dad.

The storyline followed the ups and downs of small-time London gambler Robbie Box and his long-suffering girlfriend Jan Oliver.

His addiction to poker made for an incredible watch.

The three series of 10 episodes each started on the 14th October 1984. I would have been 14-year-old at the time and had aspirations of being a gambler myself and I know Dad would have loved to have given up his business to bet for a living.

Each episode lasted for 50 minutes.

The start, finish and end was something to be savoured and I loved every minute and couldn’t wait for the next instalment.

The last episode in series 3 titled: ‘Innocent, OK’ was a fitting end to a superb drama. Ray Brooks has a long and varied profile as a brilliant actor from the Ken Loach directed Cathy Come Home to the voice of Mr Benn.

I think Big Deal was one of his most enjoyable roles he played, the cast seemed very much like a family.

It was a sad day when the series ended and disappointing that the BBC only released series 1 on DVD (2006).

Luckily, some kind soul keeps putting all three series on YouTube. The picture quality isn’t great, but when Bobby G starts to sing: ‘Gone are the dreams. You had them so very long. Now you’re having a run…’

It’s a good day.

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