Students Staff

10 September 2015

Essex academic goes behind bars with the Krays

Photo of Dick Hobbs

Professor Dick Hobbs.

Emeritus Professor of the Department of Sociology, Dick Hobbs, will appear on our screens tonight as an expert contributor in the exclusive UK premiere of a one-off special documentary for Discovery Channel, The Krays: The Prison Years.

The documentary, which promises to provide an alternative view of notorious twin gangsters Ronnie and Reggie Kray, uses never-before seen footage, interviews and reconstructions to document their years spent behind bars – a period which amounted to almost half of their lives but, until now, has been less well-documented.

Taking their arrest in 1968 as a starting point, the documentary tracks the lives of the Krays through their 30-day trial, Ronnie’s commitment to Broadmoor following his diagnosis as insane, their marriages and their operations on the ‘outside’ before ending with their deaths in 1995 and 2000.

Speaking ahead of the documentary Professor Hobbs said, “The Krays were never the ‘Kings of the Underworld’. The only things they dominated were their own imaginations, and they made more money while in prison than they did outside.

“The important thing about the Krays is that they were lousy gangsters but public relations geniuses. They were obsessed with image and idolised the Hollywood gangsters like Bogart, Cagney and particularly George Raft. They wanted to be celebrities. If they were around now, Reg and Ron would be on Celebrity Big Brother and selling their stories to Hello magazine.”

Alongside Professor Hobbs, tonight’s documentary includes first-hand accounts from the Krays’ friends and associates including Wilf Pine, who was Ronnie Kray’s business manager, Freddie Foreman, the infamous gangland enforcer who was sentenced at the same time as the Krays for the disposal of the body of Jack ‘the hat’ McVitie and Maureen Flanagan, a close family friend and former model who Reggie proposed to three times whilst in prison.

The Krays: The Prison Years will premiere exclusively in the UK on Discovery Channel, 10pm, Thursday 10 September (Sky 520, Virgin 250, BT TV 322, TalkTalk 322)

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