Be A Somebody (Series 2)
by: Jimmy McGovern
by: Paul Abbott
by: Tim Fywell
Screened: 10/10/94 (Part 1), 17/10/94 (Part 2), 24/10/94 (Part 3)
people like scum and they start acting like scum
" - Albie
Liverpudlian welder, Albert “Albie” Kinsella, attends his
father’s funeral. The death clearly has had a disturbing effect
on him and his estrangement from his wife and daughter adds to his
distress. Later that day he goes into his local newsagent and
tries to buy a box of tea-bags and a copy of the Guardian
newspaper. He is four pence short and the Asian shopkeeper refuses
to let him take the goods and pay the rest later that day. Albie
goes home and shaves his head. He returns the shop with the money
and his father’s army bayonet. He berates the shopkeeper for
treating him like working class scum and calls him a “robbing
Paki bastard”. When the old man tells him to “criticise me for
what I do not for what I am”, Albie says: “I call you a
robbing bastard and what happens, you get the Queen’s award to
industry because this country’s full of robbing bastards. But I
call you a robbing Paki bastard, and that really going to hurt.
That’s a bit of a weapon I’ve got”. (This statement
indicates a similarity between Albie and Fitz since both men view
words as being weapons). Albie then stabs the shopkeeper with his
father’s bayonet and writes the numbers 9615489 on the wall of
the shop. He goes home on the bus, clearly distressed, and takes
out 96 matches and strikes one of them.
police are convinced that the murder was a racist attack since a
skinhead was seen coming out of the shop. They make raids on the
premises of all National Front sympathizers but without success.
Fitz and Bilborough have not spoken since the Cassidy case and (on
the urgings of Penhaligon who still has not forgiven Fitz for
leaving her at the airport) another psychologist, Dr Nolan, is
brought in to help with the investigation.
Fitz loses 3,000
pounds on a horse. He picks a fight with two skinheads which
results in his nose being broken. On the day of his son’s
birthday (which Fitz has forgotten) Judith leaves with Katie and
this brings on a heart attack for Fitz.
Dr. Nolan gives a
television interview in which he describes the killer as being
white, uneducated and a football supporting thug (an erroneous
description which Fitz predicted Nolan would make and thus prove
himself to be “a prick”). Angered at the general assumptions
Nolan has made, Albie murders him in the University where Nolan
has been giving a lecture.
is then called in to help with the investigation and he agrees on
the condition that from now on they “seek truth and justice.
Good old fashioned British Justice where a man is innocent until
proven Irish”. (A very topical comment since it had only been a
few years since the wrongfully imprisoned Guildford Four and
Birmingham Six had been released after serving more than fifteen
years for terrorist bombings that they had not committed. Their
Irishness had been one of the compelling factors in their
Albie attempts to kill
a Sun journalist named Claire Moody in her car and she only narrowly
escapes by causing a car crash. He told her that she and
journalists like her had encouraged the myth that football
supporters had “pissed on the dead at Hillsborough” (a
reference to an article that appeared in the Sun
a few days after the Hillsborough disaster that blamed Liverpool
supporters for the tragedy). Albie said that she deserved to die
because she expected him and people like him to act like animals.
interviewing Claire, Fitz realizes that Albie is planning to kill
96 people in revenge for Hillsborough. The numbers on the shop
wall was referring to the 96 people who died on 15/4/89. Fitz adds
that “if there is any justice in this world most of them [the
people Albie will kill] are going to be coppers”. As a result of
his refusal to give up smoking, drinking and gambling, Judith
leaves Fitz again and he and his son Mark are left to fend for
themselves once more.
DS Beck visits Albie
as part of the investigation and Albie lies that his shaven head
is a result of chemotherapy. Albie shows him an appointment card
for a cancer clinic at the local hospital which had belonged to
his father (who was also named Albert). Beck leaves the house
feeling a little embarrassed about harassing a sick man.
decides that his next target will be Bilborough and follows him
and his family to a local supermarket where he molests
Bilborough’s wife Catriona. Albie runs away and Bilborough
chases after him. Bilborough is lead to Albie’s house where
Albie stabs him. Although dying, Bilborough radios the station and
tells his colleagues what Albie looked like and that Albie fully
intended to kill him. Bilborough on the pavement just as Fitz,
Beck and Penhaligon arrive. Fitz goes to Catriona to give her some
bereavement counselling. In a moment of compassion and kindness,
Fitz tells her that he was wrong about Cassidy and that her
husband did not lock up an innocent man.
some early friction with Wise (the new DCI), Fitz is retained on
the team. Albie’s wife is found and she emotionally describes
how traumatic an event Hillsborough was for Albie and how it
contributed to the end of their marriage. Albie is next seen
stealing explosives and when a labourer tries to stop him, Albie
murders the man.
Fitz guesses that
Albie will go to a Manchester United vs. Liverpool football game
and the police are sent to the match hoping to catch him.
Unfortunately, the surveillance is entirely on the Liverpool end
of the ground and Albie had bought his ticket in Manchester. As
Albie is being ejected from the ground for trying to cause a riot,
Beck sees him and chases after him. When he catches Albie, Beck
proceeds to brutally beat him.
is brought in to interview Albie and proceeds to mock his
grandiose motives for murder by claiming that Albie’s real
reasons for killing are entirely selfish: “Your dad dies and
something snaps. You kill a Pakistani shopkeeper. You have to
rationalize it. Apply some twisted logic and try and tie it in
with Hillsborough. But you have to stick to that logic. You have
to go killing. Because otherwise that first murder just makes no
sense. It’s just another stupid racist killing”. Albie sticks
to his display of righteous anger and it emerges that he has sent
several mail bombs to various locations in an attempt to bring his
death toll up to 96. Fitz realizes that one target will be their
police station and he manages to have the bag switched.
As Fitz is walking
home, a letter bomb goes off in the offices of the Sun.
Killing Claire Moody and many others. Albie seems to have gone a
long way towards getting his revenge.
many viewers, ‘To Be a Somebody’ is the
iconic Cracker story. The power and brilliance of the story, acting and
script are beyond dispute. It has been almost universally praised
by critics but has also been attacked by people who felt
uncomfortable with such a recent and traumatic event as
Hillsborough being used as the theme for an entertainment show.
(The last Hillsborough victim only died in 1993, a year before
‘To Be a Somebody’ was aired. His name was Tony Bland and he
passed away in hospital after being in a persistent vegetative
state for nearly four years). Jimmy McGovern was so moved by these
accusations of insensitivity that, as atonement, he wrote the
script for the programme 1996 Hillsborough which chronicles the events of 15/04/89 in a very
powerful but also sensitive way.
Guide written by Graham Price
Unofficial Guide To Cracker 1999-2006