Cracker (1993–1996)
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To Be a Somebody: Part 1 

A working class man, distraught at the recent death of his father, impulsively becomes a skinhead and murders a Pakistani shopkeeper over a perceived insult.


Tim Fywell


Jimmy McGovern (written and created by)


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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Robert Carlyle ... Albie
Tracy Gillman ... Jill
Gemma Phoenix ... Ruth
Robbie Coltrane ... Fitz
Dave Bond Dave Bond ... Factory Supervisor
Martin Pearson Martin Pearson ... Factory Worker
Badi Uzzaman ... Shahid Ali
Kieran O'Brien ... Mark
Barbara Flynn ... Judith
Christopher Eccleston ... Bilborough
Geraldine Somerville ... Penhaligon
Lorcan Cranitch ... Beck
Shango Baku Shango Baku ... Gregson
Wil Johnson ... Skelton (as Wilbert Johnson)
Colin Tierney ... Harriman


Albie Kinsella is angry at the world. He has just buried his father who died from a prolonged bout with cancer. Albie was a good son who took care of his father all of that time. His wife left him several years before, but he was always a good father to his daughter and always made sure his wife had enough money for their upkeep. Albie however is fed up being just another face in the crowd. He hates the fact that people assume he is just another working class good for nothing, when in fact he is an intelligent, hard working member of society. A dispute with a local shopkeeper sets him off and leads to a series of murders. Fitz's relations with the police are a low ebb with DCI David Billborough refusing to use him on the case and DS Jane Pehaligon refusing to speak to him after he stood her up on their planned holiday. Fitz understands what is going on and uses his insights to correctly profile the killer. DS Jimmy Beck's incompetence in questioning a potential suspect however has ... Written by garykmcd

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Crime | Drama | Mystery


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Release Date:

10 October 1994 (UK) See more »

Company Credits

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Did You Know?


Robert Carlyle and Robbie Coltrane would go on to star together again in the Bond film "The World Is Not Enough" (1999). See more »


Penhaligon: What happened to your nose?
Fitz: Skinhead gave me a piece of his mind.
See more »


References Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977) See more »


Home on the Range
Music by Daniel E. Kelley
Lyrics by Brewster M. Higley
Performed by Robbie Coltrane
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User Reviews

Has he lost his mind, can he see or is he blind...
27 March 2017 | by rooprectSee all my reviews

Now the time is here

For Iron Man to spread fear

Vengeance from the grave

Kills the people he once saved

If you don't know the song, then flog yourself mercilessly with a heavy lead boot, then come back here.

"To Be a Somebody" is perhaps the most chilling portrayal of a serial murderer because he is not some misfit scumbag who grew up torturing kittens. He is the epitome of an "everyman", a completely ordinary human being--if not a nice guy--who ends up turning into one of the most remorseless, amoral, detestable killers you've seen on TV. Why and how does he take this turn? Listen to Black Sabbath's "Iron Man" and you'll start to get the picture. Better yet, watch the show.

Also if you're American and completely ignorant of world news outside the USA bubble like me, you may want to keep your smartphone handy so you can google "Hillsborough disaster" near the end of the show. It is extremely significant, and you can spend a good day reading about the complex twisting of truth, lies and outrage surrounding the event. This episode of Cracker came 6 years after the disaster, and that was still almost a decade before the scandal was properly investigated. So the gravity of the event and its significance to this story is very pressing.

You will find yourself disgusted, intrigued, hateful and sympathetic toward the killer. As always, this excellent show bends the boundaries of good guy vs. bad guy, forcing not only your brain but your heart to work overtime to keep up.

This 3-part episode is full of top notch acting by everyone, especially Christopher Eccleston (police chief "David") who gets to shine with an explosive performance. The story is very provocative, and I'm not just talking about a psycho killer who guts people with a bayonet. I'm talking about the story of a serial killer who is exactly like you or me, a normal person who, for reasons that are shown in the beginning and which unfold & intensify all the way up to the rattling conclusion, switches over to the dark side.

Give this show your full attention, and I promise you won't be disappointed. I say this after watching every episode of Cracker, this is hands down the best crime drama that ever hit the screen.

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