Update 21 March 2016: According to updates on the Go Entertain Facebook page, the DVD release has now been cancelled, to be replaced by digital downloads at £4.99 per episode.
It’s unlikely Charles Endell, Esquire will appear on DVD anytime soon.
He’s back. He’s definitely back. Charles Endell, Esquire, the 1979 STV drama starring Iain Cuthbertson that has eluded fans for 37 years, is finally heading to DVD.
A spin-off from the classic 1971-72 ITV drama, Budgie, Charles Endell, Esquire was commissioned by Scottish broadcaster STV to resurrect the character of Soho wide-boy, Charlie Endell, portrayed in both series by actor Iain Cuthbertson. The six part series followed the exploits of Endell as he returned to his native Glasgow after a jail term.
Co-starring Rikki Fulton as a Glasgow gangster, Tony Osoba as Endell’s driver and the likes of Gerard Kelly and Russell Hunter in supporting roles, Endell had the trappings of a TV success story, only to be thwarted by an ITV strike that took the show off the air after just two episodes.
Fans of the crime drama may have found some solace in the arrival of ITV’s Minder just as the strike ended, a show which bore a few similarities to Endell.
Though the remaining episodes of Endell were eventually aired in 1980, the planned second series was cancelled, despite The Times noting that these were “hugely enjoyable comedies about crime,” and that “Mr Cuthbertson, massive in shape and impact, delivers [the lines] marvellously”.
Speaking in 2010 about the early demise of the series, creator Robert Banks Stewart, who passed away in January 2016, said: “I don’t think that the eventual decision to not do another series was due to the budget. I was told that the STV Board felt that Endell brought no credit to Glasgow, with its seamy hero, local gangsters and low-life stories.”
Conversely, director David Andrews, who worked on episode four of the series, claimed Charles Endell, Esquire was a drain on resources and that it was a lack of money which scuppered the series return.
Whatever the truth, viewers will have chance to discover Charles Endell, Esquire in full when it arrives on DVD on Monday 22 February from Go Entertain – it’s available to pre-order now on Amazon.
Look out for more on Charles Endell, Esquire on ReelScotland next week.