Tooting Popular Front / Citizen Smith
Citizen Smith - Tooting Popular Front

Citizen Smith - Wolfie Smith - Robert Lindsay

Citizen Smith is a British television sitcom. The show was written by John Sullivan, who went on later to write Only Fools and Horses. The show ran from 12 April 1977 to 4 July 1980.

Sullivan was a scenery shifter at the BBC, and wrote a script after deciding he could do better than some of the scriptwriters whose works he was helping to produce. After approaching producer Dennis Main Wilson, a one-off episode "Roof Over My Head" was produced for Comedy Special (a showcase for new talent which had succeeded Comedy Playhouse). The pilot was a success, and four series and a Christmas special were produced between 1977 and 1980.

Citizen Smith starred Robert Lindsay as "Wolfie" Smith, a young Marxist urban revolutionary living in Tooting, South London, who is attempting to emulate his hero Che Guevara. Wolfie is the self-proclaimed leader of the Tooting Popular Front (in reality a small bunch of his friends) the goals of which are "Power to the People" and "Freedom for Tooting". In reality, he is an unemployed dreamer and petty criminal whose plans fall through due to laziness and disorganisation.

Series 1
From a couple of episodes into the run, Wolfie lives with his religious friend Ken (Mike Grady) in a flat in the house of his girlfriend's family - Shirley (Cheryl Hall, Lindsay's wife), her vague mother (Hilda Braid), who mistakenly calls Wolfie "Foxy" and her authoritarian and conservative father (Artro Morris (Pilot episode), Peter Vaughan (series 1-2), Tony Steedman (series 3-4)). Other regular characters in the series were fellow-revolutionaries Tucker (Anthony Millan) and Speed (George Sweeney), and local gangster Harry Fenning (Stephen Greif). After the first two series, Shirley was written out as having gone to work in Italy. Series four saw Ronnie Lynch (David Garfield) replacing Harry Fenning as the local gangster.

Series 2
For the first two series, the opening credits of each episode were accompanied by a stirring rendition of the socialist anthem the Red Flag, and always featured Wolfie emerging from Tooting Broadway tube station. The opening sequence always ended with him shouting "Power to the People" in a comedic context, for example, waking a sleeping baby, or shouting it while standing on top of a statue. This was altered from Season 3 onwards. The opening was much the same, retaining the Red Flag, but the "Power to the People" line was always used the same way. In addition, the cast names were accompanied with an onscreen clip of them, rather than just the names that had been used before.

Series 3
The Glorious Day, which Wolfie had always been plotting, came at the end of the third series, in an episode of the same name, in which the Tooting Popular Front 'liberate' a Scorpion tank and use it to invade the Houses of Parliament, only to find the place empty due to the Parliamentary recess. This episode also came as a joy to all those who loathe garden gnomes. After stealing the Scorpion tank from a firing range, Smith, hides it in a friend's garage. Whilst away, one of the family, curious as the what is this vast vehicle, parked amongst the garden tools, climbs down inside and accidentally steps on the fire button. The result is that their neat garden is raked with high calibre, heavy machine gun fire, and the spectacular, slow motion, annihilation of the 30 or so garden gnomes scattered about it.
Many fans feel that this should have been the last episode, with The Glorious Day being the show's peak and a satisfying conclusion, and the final series generally being much weaker.
The series was concluded in the penultimate episode, with Wolfie fleeing Tooting to escape Ronnie Lynch, closing with a shot mirroring the opening credits, of Wolfie entering Tooting Broadway Underground Station. However, one further episode, with Wolfie and Ken on holiday abroad, was shown as the 1980 Christmas Special.


Roof Over My Head (April 12, 1977)

Series 1
Crocodile tears (November 3, 1977)
Guess who's coming to dinner (November 10, 1977)
Abide with me (November 17, 1977)
The weekend (November 24, 1977)
The hostage (December 1, 1977)
The path of true love (December 8, 1977)
But is it art? (December 15, 1977)
A Christmas story (Christmas special)(December 22, 1977)

Series 2
Speed's return (December 1, 1978)
Rebel without a pause (December 8, 1978)
The Tooting connection (December 15, 1978)
Working class hero (December 22, 1978)
Rock bottom (January 5, 1979)

Series 3
Spanish fly (special)(August 16, 1979)
Don't look down (September 20, 1979)
Only fools and horses (September 27, 1979)
The big job (October 4, 1979)
Tofkin's revenge (October 11, 1979)
We shall not be moved (October 18, 1979)
The party's over (October 25, 1979)
The glorious day (November 1, 1979)

Series 4
Bigger than Guy Fawkes (May 23, 1980)
Changes (May 30, 1980)
The final try (June 6, 1980)
The letter of the law (June 13, 1980)
Prisoners (June 20, 1980)
Casablanca was never like this (June 27, 1980)
Sweet sorrow (July 4, 1980)
Buon Natale (Christmas special)(December 31, 1980)


CLICK HERE to watch the opening / closing credits
A website about British 1970's comedy sitcom CITIZEN SMITH