Best on the Box choice for Tuesday, January 25th…
Tonight’s first of three episodes is the start of the most definite account yet of the rise, reign and fall of Britain’s most notorious gangsters begins with their ascent to power and the influences that shaped them.
Episode one features exclusive interviews with friends, former gangsters and relatives of the twins, plus rarely seen archive footage and items including Reg Kray’s personal scrapbook, charting their crimes and court appearances as if they were prized possessions. The story of the Kray twins begins in Bethnal Green in the East End of London in 1933 – their love of Hollywood gangster films and their desire to be both feared and famous.
It also reveals the bond that could never be broken between them but would ultimately lead to their downfall. This episode follows their path through protection rackets, thuggery and violence to their arrival as national figures following their move into the West End in 1964.
Interviews include discussions with world-famous photographer David Bailey; Kray family friend Maureen Flanagan; Kim Peat – the twins’ neighbour and cousin; former gangster Chris Lambrianou, who was sentenced to 15 years alongside the Krays; 89-year old Nemone Lethbridge, who was the Kray’s barrister and Fred Dinenage, who co-wrote the twins autobiography.
It tracks their first tentative steps into the world of crime and their emergence as protection racketeers in the mid-50s.
ITV will tell the story of Ron’s imprisonment in 1956 and his confinement in a mental hospital where he was diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic – and of his extraordinary escape after he and Reg exploited their identical appearance to deceive hospital staff. The documentary also looks at how their East End clubs became the in-place for the West End set, many of whom enjoyed the frisson of rubbing shoulders with gangsters.
And the timeline of events follows their move into a world of power, scandal and influence as they met leading political figures of the time.