Many people will only know of the late Tom Bell as the sexist DS Otley in Prime Suspect. But his acting career was wide and varied. Perhaps Bell’s finest hour was in Out in his BAFTA-winning lead role of Frank Ross, a former bank robber who tears up his old manor after eight years inside, trying to find out who put him behind bars.
Written by Trevor Preston, a contributor to Callan and previous Euston Films productions such as Special Branch, Out is firmly rooted in the revenge thriller genre, as well as the general Euston Films milieu. Like Walker in Point Blank (1967) and Carter in Get Carter (1971), Ross is an iconic figure, a sharply dressed gangster who’s prepared to go to almost any lengths to find out who informed on him.
While the grittiness of those films lives on in these six episodes, it would be wrong to think of Out as simply a standard crime thriller. Taking the Krays and other real-life criminals as guidance, it explores the relationships that a career criminal might make with others, including his family, his friends, other criminals and the police, as well as the rules that bound societies like that together during the 60s and 70s.