Released on DVD for the first time on Acorn Media UK, Crocodile Shoes written by and starring Jimmy Nail was a hit TV series that first aired in September 1994 on BBC.
Nail plays Jed Sheppard a factory metal worker who is facing redundancy and so faces a life-changing decision to pursue a passion of country music and make a dream career in Nashville. Helped by the only man who believes in him by his manager Ade (James Wilby) they encounter loan sharks, record companies and women who bring their own unique brand of obstacle to overcome.
The drama has aged well in nearly 20 years; the music industry is all about image still, double crosses still persist and the drama is clear as day.
The show is helped by Wilby's fragile performance as Ade. In the first episode, 'The Tape' it is predominantly Ade's story at the centre of the narrative with Jed a subsidiary to the need for Ade to find a big hit. This is usually apparent in people's first screenplay, where they take a backseat or need some established actor to take the reins and pressure off - think Robin Williams in Good Will Hunting written by Ben Affleck and Matt Damon.
Wilby is as much importance as Jimmy Nail here, and their chemistry and partnership as a traditional odd couple; North v South, education v street smart, blonde v dark is all too apparent and to the form here.
Nail is his usual brooding, imposing self with a Ronseal character; yet there are many a good actor in the series of name actors; Alex Kingston, Melanie Hill, Amy Madigan, Burt Young and Brian Capron, who played evil Richard Hillman on Coronation Street.
Anyone with a fondness for decent British drama will appreciate this Clement-La Frenais influenced piece and be pleasantly surprised by the soundtrack of country songs performed by Jimmy Nail but written by renowned Paddy McAloon of Prefab Sprout.
Crocodile Shoes is out on DVD Monday 2nd September from Acorn Media UK for £29.99RRP