The turning point for the Piranha brothers

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An old favorite for the misnegation files:

The transcript:

When the Piranhas left school they were called up but were found by an Army Board to be too mentally unstable even for National Service. Denied the opportunity to use their talents in the service of their country, they began to operate what they called 'The Operation'… They would select a victim and then threaten to beat him up if he paid them the so-called protection money. Four months later they started another operation which they called 'The Other Operation'. In this racket they selected another victim and threatened not to beat him up if he didn't pay them. One month later they hit upon 'The Other Other Operation'. In this the victim was threatened that if he didn't pay them, they would beat him up. This for the Piranha brothers was the turning point.


  1. Dan M. said,

    January 18, 2013 @ 1:24 am

    Shortly after 5:30 the interviewer asks one of the victims why he'd been manhandled. I hear the question as "What'd you'd done?" Is there any way the "d" after "you" is grammatical?

  2. Margaret said,

    January 18, 2013 @ 2:27 am

    I hear that as a drawn-out d on 'done', perhaps because of the emphasis on the word. 'What had you dddone?' (I'm British).

  3. AntC said,

    January 18, 2013 @ 2:29 am

    (For the benefit of non-British readers,
    who weren't in the lower sixth in the '70's.
    This is a spoof of the Kray twins.
    And their (alleged) popularity in South London.)

  4. Bric said,

    January 18, 2013 @ 3:03 am

    In the interests of pedantry, the Krays were East London, down here in the South we had the Richardsons.

  5. Picky said,

    January 18, 2013 @ 4:02 am

    Pedantry Corner: While the Krays' domain did stretch into South London, where it collided uncomfortably with that of the (if anything even more unpleasant) Richardsons, and where indeed I was in the lower sixth, most of their villainy was in the East End (that's north of the River for the rest of you), and I think it was more 60s than 70s.

  6. dw said,

    January 18, 2013 @ 4:12 am

    The thing that I find most striking is the absence of singular they.

  7. AntC said,

    January 18, 2013 @ 4:15 am

    Ah! And I thought the pedants would pick up my mis-placed comma. (That wasn't supposed to be an attributive relative.)
    I meant that Dinsdale Piranha was in the '70's.
    I bow to your authority on villainy — I was another world away in West London.

  8. Eddie said,

    January 18, 2013 @ 5:33 am

    I love Bric's phrase: "in the the interests of pedantry …" : o )

    It's as if pedantry is a dying trade that must be kept alive by its application wherever the opportunity presents itself! I love it … I'm going to use it as a defense whenever anyone accuses me of being pedantic : o )

  9. maidhc said,

    January 18, 2013 @ 5:47 am

    "He used litotes!"

    And what about Spiny Norman?

  10. Picky said,

    January 18, 2013 @ 7:38 am

    Ah, AntC, I see.

    Bric: I think the Krays had the riverside boroughs south of the Thames. Catford was in the border country, and it was a row there between the two gangs, and a shooting, that led to the Blind Beggar murder and, eventually, the unravelling of the whole nasty scene. As to the Richardsons, they really did nail people to the floor. Such times, eh?

  11. Brett said,

    January 18, 2013 @ 12:41 pm

    As an American born the in the 1970s, I naturally knew nothing about the Krays until I was prompted to look them up by the Monty Python parody. Yet even knowing nothing about the context of what they're talking about on Ethel the Frog, I found that episode (which also includes The Ministry of Silly Walks) to be possibly the funniest half hour of television I have ever seen.

  12. Brett said,

    January 18, 2013 @ 12:42 pm

    Addendum: And as a homage to the Piranha brothers, I once had a pet hedgehog named "Dimsdale."

  13. Graeme said,

    January 19, 2013 @ 4:06 am

    Brett, your hedgehog will be mortified to learn it was 'Doug and Dinsdale'

    Dimsdale, though, would be a great name for a dreary, semi rural estate.

  14. John Quiggin » The “Other Operation” (crossposted at Crooked Timber) said,

    August 28, 2014 @ 1:39 pm

    […] dumped over their heads, rather than giving money to charity. This is reminiscent of the famous Piranha Brothers' "Other Operation", in which they threatened not to beat their victims up if they did […]

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