Gentleman Thief is a Drama programme.
Nigel Havers is AJ Raffles, a bachelor-about-town, elegant, discreet and a menace to London's Edwardian high society. A guest at all the top society functions, he leads a double life as the infamous gentleman thief. But this is threatened by Ellis Bride, a mysterious streetwise crook played by Michael French, who rumbles Raffles's true identity. Julia Sinclair (Frances Barber) is the heart's desire of Raffles - beautiful, fiery and trapped in a dull marriage - and reluctantly ended her two-year affair with Rattles to fulfil her duties as a wife.
It is 1906 and London has kicked off the shackles of the upright Victorian era and is enjoying its new freedoms: the motor car and prosperity. The infamous gentleman thief is back in town. He swings into action, he slips through locked doors like a ghost and leaves a trail of havoc in his wake, much to the frustration of Raffles's old friend, Inspector Frank Banning (Dave Hill).
"This is very much a fresh, contemporary take on a classic story," says Mal Young, Controller of Continuing Drama Series. "Writer Matthew Graham brings the piece to life superb(, adding dimensions never seen before by a TV audience."
When Monty Sinclair (John Shrapnel), an oafish millionaire, announces he is displaying the renowned Tiger's Heart ruby, Raffles is bound to attend the party, especially since Monty's wife, Julia, has recently ended their affair, and Raffles is eager for revenge on his rival. Raffles manages to remove the ruby in his usual style, but he is horrified when Monty shoots a policeman dead, mistaking him for the thief, and then blames an innocent servant for the theft and murder. However, with Bride egging him on to do the decent thing, Raffles hatches a plan determined to save the accused servant from certain death...
John Mills plays a colourful cameo as Arthur Rosehip, with a scent for exotic goods stolen by Raffles. The cast also includes Madeleine Worrall as Raffles's sister, Mags.
Gentleman Thief gave Nigel Havers the chance of a personal first - he has to don a harness for a spectacularly daring theft in the hot house at Kew Gardens. "I've never done any `flying' before but I really got a taste for it," he grins. "There is also a wonderful scene where Raffles has to descend from a chandelier it's a great stunt."
A co-production with Bravo, Gentleman Thief is written by Matthew Graham, directed by Justin Hardy and produced by Victoria Fea with Mal Young as executive producer
Running Time: 60 minutes (approx)
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