The Invisibles. Image shows from L to R: Syd Woolsey (Warren Clarke), Maurice Riley (Anthony Head). Copyright: Company Pictures.

The Invisibles

BBC One comedy drama. 6 episodes (1 series) in 2008. Stars Anthony Head, Warren Clarke, Dean Lennox Kelly, Jenny Agutter, Mina Anwar, Paul Barber, Emily Head and Darren Tighe.

Press Clippings

Comedy drama The Invisibles axed after one series

Comedy drama The Invisibles, starring Warren Clarke and Anthony Head, has been axed after just one series.

Nicola Methven, The Mirror, 30th March 2009

I wasn't expecting riveting edge-of-the-seat stuff, which is just as well as right from the slightly old fashioned title sequence I knew this wasn't going to reel me in.

The whole thing felt very old fashioned and slightly overacted, mainly by Head who seemed to have attended the Waking the Dead school of shouting as he brooded through each scene waiting for just the right time to bellow. Jenny Agutter was boring, and I didn't care for Warren Clarke, leaving it to Dean Lennox Kelly to emerge as the best of the cast but he didn't get much screen time till the final 15 minuets.

Unlike New Tricks, I didn't find this very funny and the fishing village location (shot in Northern Ireland) wasn't very interesting, either. I hope now that the threesome have found each other it'll pick up - the lengthy extract of the next episode seemed like it may be a bit better so I'll give it a second go, but the main problem is that the main characters aren't very likeable and need more personality and charisma.

Luke, The Custard TV, 3rd May 2008

Last night, it was decision time: The Invisibles v The Inbetweeners. The loser, the shambolic, hopeless, where-are-the-matchsticks-to-keep-my-eyelids-from-closing-FOREVER loser, was The Invisibles, which finally appeared after weeks of trailers featuring spidery, abseiling figures, implying a drama with the stylistic dash of The Thomas Crown Affair. That, like the drama itself, was a con.

This was a drama with something to say - something obvious and clunking - about ageing. Over and over again. The Invisibles, you see, also refers to the elderly within society. So, Morris (Head) hated the new block of flats that he and his wife (Jenny Agutter) moved into because they were for old people and had smoke alarms; and under the door drifted leaflets for coffee mornings and bridge-for-beginners' courses.

Lame drama chafed against lamer comedy. The duo first tried to burgle a friend's place as practice (they banged their knees, leading to more grumbling about ageing). The tone went absurdly Mission: Impossible as they prepared to rob a gangland chief's place (expensive bits of kit, slinky music). But they were caught, beaten up and eventually saved by the pub landlord, a younger guy in thrall to them because his dad was once part of their gang.

To match Morris's grouchiness, I'll say that burglary is unpleasant, burglars are not to be celebrated, especially ones such as Morris and Sid, so totally lacking in comedic value. Surely we live in an age in which the myth of the gentleman criminal is tarnished: the subtext of The Invisibles is that crime was once a stylish business, with swaggering sophisticates robbing for the hell of it rather than the next crack fix, which is tosh. Anyway, Morris and Sid are dislikeable, inept, poorly characterised crooks. I hope they get collared or someone nicks their free bus passes.

Tim Teeman, The Times, 2nd May 2008

It's a nice spin on a well-worn idea and all credit to writer William Ivory for enlivening it with silly twists, reversals and chortlesome moments. The two stars have a chemistry that makes for easy watching, and they got great support from Dean Lennox Kelly as Hedley, as the young turk who encouraged them out of retirement, and Jenny Agutter as Maurice's anti-crime other half, Barbara.

All in all, The Invisibles is another nice, quiet, heart-warming cup of Horlicks for that under-served generation of viewers who so eagerly took New Tricks to its heart.

Gerard O'Donovan, The Telegraph, 2nd May 2008

So, two decent actors, a rip-roaring premise and loads of opportunity for some fun and edgy entertainment. Except it wasn't really that much fun and it wasn't very edgy.

It was dull, clunky, very predictable and very... mediocre, with more than a passing resemblance to New Tricks. It was very, very, crushingly mediocre. Fair enough, it's a gentle, easy-going towards-the-end-of-the-week drama and there might be some fun to be had in future episodes when the three of them have to keep their secret occupations away from their spouses and the motley crew of townsfolk, but I'm pretty certain there won't be.

Paul Hirons, TV Scoop, 2nd May 2008

Did no one in the seasoned cast have a queasy feeling about the script? Or notice the absence of jokes in a comedy caper? Next time you are in a pub, try to get a laugh with: Port and brandy - nature's amoxicillin! Try even to say it.

Looking on the bright side, Portaferry, standing in for Devon, is particularly pretty if, quite obviously, perishing. Presumably they were filming out of season. Dangerously late, it cheered up considerably with the appearance of Dean Lennox Kelly (I was the man behind the Rotherham 7. You've probably heard of us. Well, anyway ...). There were spectral overtones of Minder and suddenly he mutated exhilaratingly into Terry McCann and flattened the baddies. I'm the hardest man you've ever met in your life. I'll be back and I'll be angry. You don't wanna see that. Actually, yes, I wouldn't mind.

Nancy Banks-Smith, The Guardian, 2nd May 2008

A new comedy drama series that's at least a breath of fresh air from the endless round of whodunits which dominate prime time. There are criminals here too, but such feeble relics of robbers that when they're involved in a car crash during a police chase they get out to see if the bobbies are ok.

With Jenny Agutter and Shameless's Dean Lennox Kelly helping make up a solid cast, there's a couple of genuinely funny moments in the first episode, with the promise of more to come.

Serena Davies, The Telegraph, 1st May 2008

'I am the best safe-cracker this country has ever produced!' hisses Maurice Riley (Anthony Head) as he fiddles his way through a phalanx of whirring mechanical wotsits. Such an assertion would be worrying at the best of times, but the fact that it's uttered by a man in a pink satin blindfold suggests that this is not a character to be trifled with. And he's not.

In the first episode of this curious new comedy drama we join the putatively reformed criminal and his hapless chum Syd (Warren Clarke) as they relocate from the Costa del Larceny to a dinky village in Devon. The resulting romp has some flashes of sweetness - not least the wonderful Dean Lennox Kelly as a crafty publican - but so cantankerous is Maurice, and so daft are his scrapes, that you may find it difficult to care.

Sarah Dempster, Radio Times, 1st May 2008

Visibly Rubbish Crooks

A preview of the series

Graham Keal, Daily Record, 26th April 2008

Telegraph Article

Anthony Head, Warren Clarke and Jenny Agutter talk to The Telegraph about the worst crimes they've ever committed.

Michael Deacon, The Telegraph, 26th April 2008