Hustle - BBC

Discussions of new films, books, television shows, and media indirectly related to magic and magicians. For example, there may be a book on mnemonics or theatrical technique we should know or at least know about.

Postby Ian Kendall » 02/25/04 02:18 PM

Hello all,

Last night the Beeb showed the first in a six part drama series called Hustle. Predicably, it's about a crew of con people, fleecing odious and greedy bad people. The style is very close to the film Confidence, and to a lesser extent The Grifters. The first episode refers to The Sting and one of the characters is introduced at Mr Redford, probably trying to be ironically self referential. The larger irony, however, is that the plot of the opening show is almost exactly the same as the Sting. Whether this is intentional is not made apparant.

On the whole it was a very enjoyable hour. The only actor I recognised was Robert Vaughn (Yay! Napoleon Solo as smooth as ever). There were attempts to be accurate, but most fell short. The three card monte scene was excruciating to watch, and ye olde 'put a rake into a lock and the door opens' ploy makes a less than welcome return. (An aside on this; the series is made by the same people who made the MI5 show Spooks. In the first of _that_ series, lock picking is shown accurately, with a pick and a tension bar. Why this was dropped in a show that purports to be accurate (even putting the bent corner into a thrown card) I may never know. And fewer would care, but it would have been nice to see the tension bar being taken out of the bag. OK, pedantic rant over).

The cast are largely too beautiful to exist outside the Spotlight but I'm interested to see which other scams they come up with.

The creator is a script consultant for Eastenders, and it's obvious he has done some research on the matter (although I doubt he had the inside knowledge of the Shade crew). If you feel creative, there is a competition on writing about a hustle at the beeb's writing page:

www.bbc.co.uk/getwriting

Hustle is on at 9pm on Beeb1 on Tuesdays. I'll be watching.

Take care, Ian
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Postby Daniel » 02/25/04 04:49 PM

Adrian Lester, another actor in the show, was a guest on a daytime TV show the other morning, (The Terry & Gaby Show for the British readers), and attempted a couple of card flourishes - card into backpalm and then production being one of them - and ended with a simple trick.

He was trying to demonstrate the skills he had acquired as part of his research for his role in the show but maybe the pressure of doing it on live TV was too much. The trick was a Blaine-type semi Dr Daley, and his control of the selected card left a lot to be desired but I guess his DL wasn't too bad.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 02/25/04 09:57 PM

I happened to be in London and was able to watch the first episode of the show. It was good: better than most American television, but not great.
Watching Robert Vaughan is always fun: he's an old ham and well aged.
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