Iconic British Film & TV Characters Who Gamble

British period dramas are not the only greatest entertainment export of the country, quite the opposite in fact, as there is a plethora of genres, both in terms of British movies and British television programs.

One certainly regular theme that crops up time and time again throughout British film and television are fully rounded characters that gamble. Continue reading to discover some of the most iconic and to learn about the shows they come from.


‘Boycie’ from ‘Only Fools & Horses’

There is no more iconic British television show than the BBC situation comedy, ‘Only Fools and Horses’ and no more iconic character, other than perhaps Del-Boy himself, than Boycie, played by the recently departed John Challis.

Boycie, full name Herman Aubrey Boycie, grew up in the same working class, East London, area as the other characters, yet was ’good’ and became a posh, snooty bloke living in a beautiful and large house. Boycie was even the subject of an entire episode, devoted to gambling, titled ‘A Losing Streak’.


‘Tommy’ in ’Peaky Blinders’

The gangster series set in the early 20th century ‘Peaky Blinders’ features a specialized betting parlor, operated and owned by one Tommy Shelby, played by Cillian Murphy, although due to the time period, it certainly appears entirely different to a modern betting shop today.

Tommy is fully immersed in the world of gambling and counts fixing a host of different horse races as one of his many illegal, criminal dealings throughout the entire series.


James Bond

The man who made a simple black suit timelessly fashionable and only takes his drinks shaken not stirred also has more than a small penchant for gambling.

If you think about it, Ian Flemming’s very first James Bond novel, ‘Casino Royale’, was based entirely in and around a casino and heavily featured all different types of gambling. Not only does James Bond enjoy gambling, he would have no doubt enjoyed playing an online casino for real money just as much as Baccarat.


‘Norman Stanley Fletcher’ in ‘Porridge’

One of the other greatest situation comedies of all time, ‘Porridge’, starred a plethora of fabulously iconic British stars, not least the wonderful and supremely talented Ronnie Barker.

Norman Stanley Fletcher was a habitual criminal and amongst a myriad of other tricks and cons during his various terms of imprisonment, was also somewhat of an enthusiastic gambler. One episode in particular, titled ‘The Hustler; showcased Fletch hustling the inmates for money and food tokens and suffice to say, he succeeded.


‘Dr John Watson’ from ‘Sherlock Holmes’

It is often surmised that the writer and creator of the iconic Sherlock Holmes, Arthur Conan Doyle, must have himself had a passion for gambling, as he created his main character’s trusty sidekick, Watson, with a regularly visible and growing gambling habit.

In the Victorian era, where Scottish writer Conan Doyle set his ground-breaking novels, gambling was accepted and commonplace amongst all walks of life, classes and genders and as a result, a simple and ordinary man like Watson would have most likely enjoyed a proverbial flutter had he been a real-life man.