|Created by||Tony Jordan|
|Starring|| Adrian Lester |
Matt Di Angelo
|Theme music composer||Simon Rogers|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of series||8|
|No. of episodes||48 (list of episodes)|
|Executive producers||Karen Wilson|
Simon Crawford Collins
|Running time||60 minutes ~52 minutes outside UK|
|Original network|| BBC One |
BBC HD (2007–2010)
BBC One HD (2011–2012)
|Picture format|| 576i (16:9) (SDTV) (Series 1–3)|
1080i (16:9) (SDTV) (Series 4–8)
|Original release||24 February 2004 –|
17 February 2012
Hustle is a British television crime drama series starring Adrian Lester, Robert Glenister and Robert Vaughn. Created by Tony Jordan, it was produced by Kudos Film and Television, and broadcast on BBC One in the United Kingdom. The show premiered on 24 February 2004, and ran for eight series, with its final episode aired on 17 February 2012.The show's premise is on a group of con artists who specialise in "long cons" – extended forms of deceptive frauds that require greater commitment, but offer higher rewards than simple confidence tricks. The show's most notable qualities are plots that involve behind-the-scenes action that the viewers are unaware of until near the end of an episode, along with fantasy scenes and occasional breaches of the fourth wall by the main actors.
The show achieved consistently high viewing figures throughout its eight-year run and was received favourably by critics.
Each episode's plot focuses on a team of grifters who conduct the art of the "long con", often targeting a "mark" whose activities are immoral and/or illegal, or whose character retains a fundamental negative personality with others they dislike, or who they make suffer, while adhering to the credo that "you can't cheat an honest man".Although conmen, the team display a moral, honourable code within their team, which include sometimes helping others who have been victims of their mark, often with anonymous financial compensation to them, and never stealing anything that doesn't belong to them, instead borrowing them for the con and then returning them afterwards. For each mark, the team focuses on background research to uncover any issues they may face as well as a weakness in them that they can exploit, such as a passion for something they love, or an issue they are facing. Once they have a plan, the team set up a scenario, employ a "convincer" to rope in their mark, and then hit them with the sting in which they take them for a sizeable amount of cash, within the tens of thousands, before conducting a "blow-off" to ensure the mark will not come after them, either because they won't if they have to admit to conducting something illegal, or because the team have convinced them it will be impossible to do so. Although episodes feature stand-alone stories and are not referenced in later episodes, some series have featured sub-plots that occur during its broadcast, or make reference to events that occurred in previous episodes. In one such example, the first half of the third series features a sub-plot in that the team manage to pull off some long cons despite nearly suffering misfortune, which they later resolve after one of the characters determines what was causing them to suffer such bad luck.
What makes Hustle unique among crime dramas is two notable qualities used within its episodes.[ citation needed ] The first notable quality is that each episode's plot tends to have an element of mystery surrounding it, usually in the form of misleading story elements – what viewers may believe to be happening within the episode, will eventually turn out to be not the full story. An example of this is that the viewers could be led to believe that a con has gone wrong towards the end and that the team have failed, only to witness that the mark has still been conned of money by them. Such a plot device is balanced out with a series of scenes that helped to explain about what happened, in the form of events that occurred "behind-the-scenes" of the con. The second other notable quality is the use of stylish fantasy scenes in a number of episodes, in which the characters perform actions that are out of context and sometimes unrealistic, but is used to help with conveying an episode's plot to viewers or what a character is thinking about in regard to a certain situation. One such example of this can be for the scene to suddenly be stopped in mid-action, and the main characters being able to freely move around and interact with each other, and possibly anything else within the frozen scene. In some episodes, the main characters break the fourth wall to either give a subtle, discreet physical tell to alert the viewers of what they are up to (e.g. a small smile), or to give an explanation to viewers about certain aspects they are doing or the situation they are in.
Hustle was largely born from the same production team that created and popularised the early series of Spooks, a similarly styled drama series first broadcast in 2002.Bharat Nalluri, that series' Executive Director, conceived the idea in early 2002 while filming for the first Spooks series was ongoing. Nalluri pitched the concept to Jane Featherstone, managing director of Kudos Film & Television which was the production company behind Spooks, in the back of a taxi while returning from a day's filming. Intrigued by the idea, Featherstone recruited Tony Jordan, the lead scriptwriter of the soap opera EastEnders , to develop it into a workable proposal.
Jordan quickly produced some initial script drafts, which Featherstone took to the BBC; Gareth Neame, Head of Drama Commissioning, rapidly approved a six-part series.Featherstone assembled a production team that had considerable overlap with the Spooks crew, including Simon Crawford Collins as producer and Matthew Graham as co-writer. In creating the first episodes, Jordan drew inspiration from the long tradition of confidence tricks and heists in Hollywood and television, including The A-Team , The Sting and The Grifters (and in a similar vein, the films and TV series of Mission Impossible ). Featherstone remarked that "Ocean's Eleven was on around the time Bharat and I first spoke, and I think it helped to inspire us, but really we took our inspiration from a whole catalogue of movies and books... we wanted to make something that had the energy, verve, style and pure entertainment value of those sorts of films" At the same time, the writers attempted to draw on the success of recent blockbusters such as Ocean's Eleven and Mission: Impossible ; speaking in an interview in December 2003, Crawford explained that "[such shows] worked because of the interaction within the group – the plotlines were almost irrelevant".
With Hustle greenlit for filming, the production team began searching for actors to play both the main characters and the marks for each episode. The process was initially quite difficult; Crawford described his "immediate thought [as] 'this is so good, how the hell are we going to get a cast to live up to these characters?' ... Tony had created incredibly strong characters, each with their own particular style and panache, but they also had to form a believable, if unusual, 'family' unit".Robert Vaughn, the Academy Award-nominated star of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. , was soon suggested as a natural choice to play Albert Stroller, the elderly 'roper' responsible for ensnaring potential marks. After meeting Vaughn over lunch, Crawford "[recognised] straight away that he could bring a whole new dimension to the part of Albert". Vaughn was immediately offered the role, and asked to begin filming the following day.
Jordan's script called for a group of five con artists or "grifters", with a wide range of ages, appearances and experience.The production team cast Adrian Lester, at the time playing Henry V at the National Theatre, as Michael Stone, the leader of the group; Marc Warren as Danny Blue, Stone's younger protégé; and Robert Glenister as Ash Morgan, the "fixer"; in August 2003. Although having numerous credits in film and on the stage, Lester was an unknown face in television, having had less than two hours' broadcast screen time prior to the first Hustle series. Lester explained that he "couldn't imagine playing the same character for years, but Hustle was completely different. In the very first rehearsal we were doing a dance routine and then the next thing I know I'm whacking out several different accents and I just thought, 'I'm in heaven, this is great!'"
Jaime Murray completed the lead actors, playing Stacie Monroe who, as the grifters' only female member, is self-styled as "the lure". ft 7in height with Stacie's description as having "legs that go on for miles", was reportedly "terrified" to be working with the more famous actors Vaughn and Lester, saying "when we were filming the first couple of episodes I was absolutely petrified and was convinced that it would be really obvious on screen. So when I watched some of it on tape I was totally amazed that you couldn't see how frightened I really was. I kept thinking, 'Oh my God! I'm working with Adrian Lester and Robert Vaughn. Any time now someone is going to tap me on the shoulder and ask me to get my coat!'"Murray, described by one of the Hustle production team as "that rare specimen – a stunningly beautiful actress who can actually act", and who auditioned in platform shoes to match her 5
In addition to the lead actors, the production team recruited a number of actors, both major and minor, to play the marks in each episode; including David Haig, Tamzin Outhwaite, and David Calder.
With the cast and crew in place, filming for the first Hustle series took place in London between August and November 2003.The lead actors were given professional instruction in sleight-of-hand and pick-pocketing; "all the tricks of the trade from card-shuffling to stealing watches", according to Lester. The cast found the experience informative; Murray explained, "I realised that most cons are all about diversion – while you're trying to con somebody you're doing something to distract them in the opposite direction so they don't notice and that's exactly how pickpockets work".
Several members of the cast described Hustle's filming schedule as incredibly hectic. Vaughn said that "[the role] was offered to me, and I was told to get on a plane an hour after I got the phone call and start shooting the following day."Speaking in 2009 after filming four series of the show, Lester explained that "when we start shooting Hustle we film two episodes concurrently, with the scenes out of sequence. Knowing where you are in the intricate plots at any one moment is... challenging". Murray, by contrast, claimed that the hardest scene to film was from the fourth episode, when Danny loses spectacularly to Stacie in strip poker and ends up entirely naked. "It was the toughest scene for me of the entire six months we spent filming the series... Stacie is supposed to be calm, cool and collected... she looks down, checks him out and casually and suavely makes a comment. I kept looking down, dissolving into fits of laughter and was almost unable to deliver my line. So all you'll see is me laughing".
Although the programme typically contains few non-trivial stunts or dramatic special effects, the first episode includes an example of Ash Morgan's favourite con, known as "The Flop": having previously received a fractured skull in a bar brawl, Morgan deliberately steps in front of moving cars and exaggerates the accident. Although not actually hurt, X-ray scans show his fractured skull, and the driver's insurance company pays out a compensation claim.Glenister balked at doing the entire stunt himself, saying "I got a stunt man who did all the smashing against the windscreen stunts but I did everything else... We all like doing the stunts involving driving fast because it's boy's-own stuff but when it comes to the dangerous stunts I'm quite happy to leave it to someone else!"
The first episode of the series of Hustle was broadcast on BBC One on 24 February 2004, million viewers, and attracting favourable reviews (see below). Before the first series had finished airing, the BBC had sold rebroadcast licences to TV channels in twelve countries, including Italy, Norway, Germany, Israel, Russia and the Netherlands. Anita Davison, Commercial Director for BBC Worldwide, claimed that "The series [had] all the hallmarks of a huge international hit". The series was later licensed to broadcasters in India and South America.driven by a strong advertising campaign organised by Abbott Mead Vickers, surrounding its slogan, "The Con is On", the same name as that of the initial episode's title. The programme was an immediate success, attracting over 6.7
In response to the extremely positive reaction, the BBC recommissioned the show for a second series on 17 March 2004, after just three episodes had aired.The second series retained much of the initial production team including Jordan as lead scriptwriter, and introduced Karen Wilson as producer.
Filming for the second Hustle series took place in mid-2004, again in and around central London. Lester described the second shoot as "much easier" than the chaotic first series. "On the first series we didn't know each other... we were trying to work out what roles we were going to play and the scripts were still being written as we were shooting it; it was all a case of finding out what exactly Hustle was going to be.. second time around it was much easier, much quicker... when we were reading the script you could really hear the other actors doing their lines because you knew kind of how they were going to do them..."With the success of the first series, Hustle's team of writers were able to be more inventive in creating new plots for the second six-episode run, including issues some of the characters had to deal with, and stories which could keep the audience guessing until the end.
The programme retained all of the lead actors from the first series; guest actors appearing in the second run included Lee Ingleby, Fay Ripley, million.and Robert Llewellyn. The second series was broadcast on BBC One from 29 March 2005, to a first-night audience of 6.7
In the wake of the equally successful second series, the BBC took Hustle to the American market, securing a licensing deal with AMC.In addition to exclusive broadcast rights to the first and second series in the United States, AMC also took the position of co-production partner on the third series, already in pre-production, with the option to take the same position on a fourth series. The BBC described the move as "Securing the right platform... essential for a series to succeed in the competitive US market...". The first two series premiered in the US in January 2006 on AMC The BBC also secured new licensing deals with broadcasters in Australia and New Zealand.
Capitalising on Hustle's international success, the BBC created a spin off series, The Real Hustle , which premiered on 10 February 2006. The documentary follows three genuine hustlers – a magician and professional gambler, a glamorous actress, and a professional sleight-of-hand artist and crooked gambling consultant – as they pull short-cons on unsuspecting businesses and members of the public. The BBC described the series as an attempt "to reveal how the scams work so that the viewer can avoid being ripped off by the same con".
All five of the lead actors again reprised their roles in the third series, which featured guest stars including Richard Chamberlain,Linford Christie, Sara Cox and Paul Nicholls. The series premiered on 10 March 2006, running until 14 April. The second episode, featuring Danny and Mickey running naked through Trafalgar Square, attracted a viewing audience of 6 million. Lester described the scene as one of his most embarrassing moments on-set, saying "you forget just how many phone cameras there are... we thought [the Square] was fairly deserted, but as soon as someone shouted 'Action' there was a tour bus behind us and the whole top deck suddenly started filming".
With the backing of AMC, a fourth series of Hustle was virtually guaranteed, and by late 2006 it was clear that the cable network was taking a commanding role in the show's development.Despite the increased funding AMC provided, which allowed the writers to set episodes in Las Vegas and Los Angeles, the series was quickly mired in casting concerns. The BBC confirmed Adrian Lester's departure in September 2006, elevating Marc Warren's character to the lead role and casting Ashley Walters as a new member of the group. The BBC was quick to dispel any suggestion that Lester's resignation was connected to the shift in production focus, stating "it is a shame that, due to his current filming commitments, Adrian cannot join us this time round...", while Lester explained his action as "need[ing] to do something else, be associated with something else". However, Lester also admitted that he felt that the series "just got a little bit too 'light'".
Series Five debuted on 8 January 2009 with the return of Adrian Lester, the departure of cast members Marc Warren and Jaime Murray, and the arrival of Matt Di Angelo and Kelly Adams as their replacements. With the return of Lester's character, Mickey Bricks, Ashley Walters's Billy Bond was removed. The series resumed production in the summer of 2008; in addition, the title sequence that had been used in the last four series was changed with a new animation sequence and a much more electronic and contemporary version of the theme tune.
Series Six started 4 January 2010.All of the fifth series cast returned with production that moved to Birmingham, despite the show retaining its London setting. The series once again consisted of 6 episodes.
The seventh series of Hustle began airing on 7 January 2011.All main cast members from series 6 reprised their roles.
The eighth series started airing on 13 January 2012 on BBC1 at 9 pm after being pushed back from 6 January. Creator Tony Jordan said that it would be the last series for at least a while; later, the BBC announced that there would not be a series 9. Guest stars featuring this series include Sheila Hancock, Martin Kemp and Paterson Joseph and former Liverpool footballer Ian Rush. Peter Polycarpou and John Barrowman also revealed on Twitter that they had guest roles in series eight. This was the third series to be filmed in Birmingham, the fifth in HD and the fourth series featuring all of the current cast. Adrian Lester directed an episode, in which Mickey is kidnapped.
Following much media speculation, including reports of the programme being cancelledand a motion picture spin-off, the BBC announced on 12 June 2008 that Hustle had been recommissioned for a fifth series with series 1–3 star, Adrian Lester returning to the show alongside Robert Glenister and Robert Vaughn. Due to scheduling conflicts, Marc Warren and Jaime Murray did not feature in series five, with Matt Di Angelo and Kelly Adams joining the cast.
In June 2006, 20th Century Fox acquired the film rights to Hustle;a film adaptation of the programme is currently being written by creator Tony Jordan, who has written several drafts but is still developing the script. In February 2009, executive producer, Simon Crawford Collins stated that the movie was to be produced by a major United States studio.
The Australian (Region 4) releases of series 1 to 4 use NTSC format.
The first series of Hustle, broadcast from 24 February to 30 March 2004, attracted generally favourable reviews and audience figures. The Guardian described it as "defiantly high-concept, tightly plotted, knowing stuff... a laugh; slick, glossy, and smart certainly, but a laugh all the same", million, peaking at over 30% of the total audience.and The Times remarked that it had "the snap and style of a series that has been cryogenically frozen in the 1960s and brought back to life, like The Clangers ... The wonderfully absurd result is a drama series that takes itself far less seriously than almost anything since The Persuaders ". A later review from the same paper summarised the series as "an engaging, well-acted, snappily directed drama... sleekly edited, flatteringly lit, and stylishly executed... Will you remember a single moment of it five minutes after you've watched an episode? Probably not. But who cares?" The first three episodes attracted an average audience of 6.2
|Series||UK broadcast||Average audience|
|1||24 February – 30 March 2004||6.47 million|
|2||25 March – 3 May 2005||5.82 million|
|3||10 March – 14 April 2006||5.86 million|
|4||3 May – 7 June 2007||5.54 million|
|5||8 January – 12 February 2009||6.07 million|
|6||4 January – 8 February 2010||6.27 million|
|7||7 January – 18 February 2011||6.79 million|
|8||13 January – 17 February 2012||6.21 million|
The title sequence, created by Berger & Wyse,was nominated for a Royal Television Society Award (2005), a BAFTA (2006) and an Emmy (2007).
Robert Francis Vaughn was an American actor noted for his stage, film and television work. His television roles include suave spy Napoleon Solo in the 1960s series The Man from U.N.C.L.E.; wealthy detective Harry Rule in the 1970s series The Protectors; Morgan Wendell in the 1978–1979 mini series Centennial; formidable General Hunt Stockwell in the fifth season of the 1980s series The A-Team; and grifter and card sharp Albert Stroller in the British television drama series Hustle (2004–2012), for all but one of its 48 episodes. He also appeared in the British soap opera Coronation Street as Milton Fanshaw, a love interest for Sylvia Goodwin between January and February 2012.
Marc Warren is an English actor, known for his British television roles. His roles have included Albert Blithe in Band of Brothers, Danny Blue in Hustle, Dougie Raymond in The Vice, Dominic Foy in State of Play, Rick in Mad Dogs, the Comte de Rochefort in The Musketeers and the Gentleman in Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell.
Stephen Russell Davies, better known as Russell T Davies, is a Welsh screenwriter and television producer whose works include Queer as Folk, The Second Coming, Casanova, the 2005 revival of the BBC One science fiction franchise Doctor Who, Cucumber, Years and Years and It's a Sin.
Spooks is a British television spy drama series that originally aired on BBC One from 13 May 2002 to 23 October 2011, consisting of 10 series. The title is a popular colloquialism for spies, and the series follows the work of a group of MI5 officers based at the service's Thames House headquarters, in a highly secure suite of offices known as The Grid. It is notable for various stylistic touches, and its use of popular guest actors. In the United States, the show is broadcast under the title MI-5. In Canada, the programme originally aired as MI-5 but now airs on BBC Canada as Spooks.
William Albert Murray is an English actor, best known for playing Don Beech in The Bill from 1995 to 2004, Johnny Allen in the BBC soap opera EastEnders from 2005 to 2006, and Captain John Price in the video games Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3.
Bennet Evan Miller is an English actor. Miller wrote and starred in the Channel 4 sketch show Armstrong and Miller, as well as the BBC sketch show The Armstrong & Miller Show. Miller is also known for playing the lead role of DI Richard Poole in the first two series of the BBC crime drama Death in Paradise, and for portraying James Lester in the ITV science-fiction series Primeval.
Mario Angelo S Constantinou, professionally known as Matt Di Angelo, is a British actor and singer, best known for his role as Dean Wicks in the BBC soap opera EastEnders. He also starred as Sean Kennedy in the BBC drama series Hustle.
Jaime Murray is an English actress, known for playing Stacie Monroe in the BBC series Hustle (2004–2012), Lila West in the Showtime series Dexter (2007), Gaia in the Starz miniseries Spartacus: Gods of the Arena (2011), Olivia Charles in The CW series Ringer (2011–2012), Helena G. Wells in the Syfy series Warehouse 13 (2010–2014), Stahma Tarr in the Syfy series Defiance (2013–2015), Fiona/the Black Fairy in the ABC series Once Upon a Time (2016–2017), Antoinette in The CW series The Originals (2018), and Nyssa al Ghul in Gotham.
John Ronald Simm is an English actor, director, and musician. He is best known for playing Sam Tyler in Life on Mars, and The Master in Doctor Who. And most recently in Grace in which he stars as Detective Roy Grace. His other television credits include State of Play, The Lakes, Crime and Punishment, Exile, Prey, and Cracker. His film roles include Wonderland, Everyday, Boston Kickout, Human Traffic, and 24 Hour Party People. He has been nominated for the BAFTA Award for Best Actor twice and the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actor once.
Adrian Anthony Lester is a British actor, director, and writer. He is the recipient of a Laurence Olivier Award, an Evening Standard Theatre Award and a Critics' Circle Theatre Award for his work on the London stage.
Robert Lewis Glenister is an English actor. The son of the television director John Glenister and the older brother of actor Philip Glenister, he is known for roles including con man Ash "Three Socks" Morgan in the BBC television series Hustle (2004–2012) and Nicholas Blake in the spy drama Spooks (2006–2010).
Philip Haywood Glenister is an English actor, best known for his roles as DCI William Bell in State of Play, DCI Gene Hunt on the BBC series Life on Mars and its sequel Ashes to Ashes, and Reverend Anderson in Outcast.
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Kelly Adams is an English actress. She has played leading roles in a number of British television series: Mickie Hendrie in the BBC One medical drama series Holby City (2004–2006) and Casualty (2005); Emma Kennedy in the BBC One drama series Hustle (2009–2012); Padre Mary Greenstock in the BBC Three comedy drama series Bluestone 42 (2013–2014); Nancy Webb in the ITV period drama series Mr Selfridge (2015); and Michelle Charr in the BBC daytime murder/police drama series London Kills (2020).
Ashes to Ashes is a British fantasy crime drama and police procedural drama television series, serving as the sequel to Life on Mars.
"The Con is On" is the first episode in the British television drama series Hustle that was first broadcast on 24 February 2004. The episode begins the series created by Tony Jordan, and made by Kudos Film & Television for BBC One in the United Kingdom.
This is a list of fictional portrayals of confidence tricks found in television and the movies.
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