The Piranha Brothers Lyrics

Voice Over: And now a choice of viewing on BBC
Television. Just started on BBC2, the semi final of
Episode 3 of 'Kierkegaard's Journals', staring Richard
Chamberlain, Peggy Mount and Billy Bremer, and on BBC1,
'Ethel the Frog'

Introduction sort of music with Caption 'ETHEL THE
FROG' Cut to Presenter sitting behind desk)

Presenter: Good evening. On 'Ethel the Frog' tonight we
look at violence The violence of British Gangland. Last
Tuesday a reign of terror was ended when the notorious
Piranha brothers, Doug and Dinsdale, after one of the
most extraordinary trials in British legal history,
were sentenced to 400 years imprisonment for crimes of
violence. We examined the rise to power of the
Piranhas, the methods they used to subjugate rival
gangs and their subsequent tracking down and capture by
the brilliant Superintendent Harry 'Snapper' Organs of
Q Division. Doug and Dinsdale Piranha were born, on
probation, in a small house in Kipling Road, Southwark,
the eldest sons in a family of sixteen. Their father
Arthur Piranha, a scrap metal dealer and TV quizmaster,
was well known to the police, and a devout Catholic. In
1928 he had married Kitty Malone, an up-and-coming East
End boxer. Doug was born in February 1929 and Dinsdale
two weeks later; and again a week after that. Someone
who remembers them well was their next door neighbour,
Mrs April Simnel.

Mrs Simmel: Oh yes Kipling Road was a typical East End
Street, people were in and out of each other's houses
with each other's property all day. They were a cheery

Interviewer: Was it a terribly violent area

Mrs Simmel: Oh no......yes. Cheerful and violent. I
remember Doug was keen on boxing, but when he learned
to walk he took up putting the boot in the groin. He
was very interested in that. His mother had a terrible
job getting him to come in for tea. Putting his little
boot in he'd be, bless him. All the kids were like that
then, they didn't have their heads stuffed with all
this Cartesian dualism.

Presenter: At the age of fifteen Doug and Dinsdale
started attending the Ernest Pythagoras Primary School
in Clerkenwell. When the Piranhas left school they were
called up but were found by an Army Board to be too
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 the so-called
protection money. Four months later they started
another operation which the 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.

(Cut to Superintendent Organs - Subtitle: Harry
"Snapper" Organs)

Organs: Doug and Dinsdale Piranha now formed a gang,
which the called 'The Gang' and used terror to take
over night clubs, billiard halls, gaming casinos and
race tracks. When they tried to take over the MCC they
were for the only time in their lives, slit up a treat.
As their empire spread however, Q Division were keeping
tabs on their every move by reading the colour

Presenter: One small-time operator who fell foul of
Dinsdale Piranha was Vince Snetterton-Lewis.

Vince: "Well one day I was at home threatening the kids
when I looks out through the hole in the wall and sees
this tank pull up and out gets one of Dinsdale's boys,
so he comes in nice and friendly and says Dinsdale
wants to have a word with me, so he chains me to the
back of the tank and takes me for a scrape round to
Dinsdale's place and Dinsdale's there in the
conversation pit with Doug and Charles Paisley, the
baby crusher, and two film producers and a man they
called 'Kierkegaard', who just sat there biting the
heads of whippets and Dinsdale says 'I hear you've been
a naughty boy Clement' and he splits me nostrils open
and saws me leg off and pulls me liver out and I tell
him my name's not Clement and then... he loses his
temper and nails me head to the floor."

Interviewer: He nailed your head to the floor?

Vince: At first yeah

Presenter: Another man who had his head nailed to the
floor was Stig O' Tracy.

Interviewer: I've been told Dinsdale Piranha nailed
your head to the floor.

Stig: No. Never. He was a smashing bloke. He used to
buy his mother flowers and that. He was like a brother
to me.

Interviewer: But the police have film of Dinsdale
actually nailing your head to the floor.

Stig: (pause) Oh yeah, he did that.

Interviewer: Why?

Stig: Well he had to, didn't he? I mean there was
nothing else he could do, be fair. I had transgressed
the unwritten law.

Interviewer: What had you done?

Stig: Er... well he didn't tell me that, but he gave me
his word that it was the case, and that's good enough
for me with old Dinsy. I mean, he didn't *want* to nail
my head to the floor. I had to insist. He wanted to let
me off. He'd do anything for you, Dinsdale would.

Interviewer: And you don't bear him a grudge?

Stig: A grudge! Old Dinsy. He was a real darling.

Interviewer: I understand he also nailed your wife's
head to a coffee table. Isn't that true Mrs O' Tracy?

Mrs O' Tracy: No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no.

Stig: Well he did do that, yeah. He was a hard man.
Vicious but fair

(Cut back to vince)

Interviewer: Vince, after he nailed your head to the
floor, did you ever see him again

Vince: Yeah.....after that I used to go round his flat
every Sunday lunchtime to apologise and we'd shake
hands and then he'd nail my head to the floor

Interviewer: Every Sunday?

Vince: Yeah but he was very reasonable. Once, one
Sunday I told him my parents were coming round to tea
and would he mind very much not nailing my head that
week and he agreed and just screwed my pelvis to a cake

Presenter:Clearly Dinsdale inspired tremendous fear
among his business associates. But what was he really

Gloria:I walked out with Dinsdale on many occasions and
found him a charming and erudite companion. He was wont
to introduce one to eminent celebrities, celebrated
American singers, members of the aristocracy and other
gang leaders,

Interviewer (off screen): How had he met them?

Gloria:Through his work for charities. He took a warm
interest in Boys' Clubs, Sailors' Homes, Choristers'
Associations and the Grenadier Guards.

Interviewer:Was there anything unusual about him?

Gloria:t him. I should say not. Except, that Dinsdale
was convinced that he was being watched by a giant
hedgehog whom he referred to as 'Spiny Norman'.

Interviewer: How big was Norman supposed to be?

Gloria:Normally Spiny Norman was wont to be about
twelve feet from snout to tail, but when Dinsdale was
depressed Norman could be anything up to eight hundred
yards long. When Norman was about Dinsdale would go
very quiet and start wobbling and his nose would swell
up and his teeth would move about and he'd get very
violent and claim that he'd laid Stanley Baldwin."

Interviewer: "Did it worry you that he, for example,
stitched people's legs together?"

Gloria: "Well it's better than bottling it up isn't it.
He was a gentleman, Dinsdale, and what's more he knew
how to treat a female impersonator."

Presenter:But what do the criminologists think? We
asked The Amazing Kargol and Janet:

Ciminologist:It is easy for us to judge Dinsdale
Piranha too harshly. After all he only did what many of
us simply dream of doing... I'm sorry. After all we
should remember that a murderer is only an extroverted
suicide. Dinsdale was a looney, but he was a happy
looney. Lucky bugger."

Presenter:Most of the strange tales concern Dinsdale,
but what about Doug? One man who met him was Luigi

Vercotti: I had been running a successful escort agency
-- high class, no really, high class girls -- we didn't
have any of *that* -- that was right out. And I decided
(phone rings) Excuse me (he answers phone), not
now......shtoom...shtoom....right......yes, we'll have
the watch ready for you at midnight.......the
watch.....the Chinese watch....yes, right-oh, bye-
bye.....mother (he hangs up phone) Anyway I decided to
open a high class night club for the gentry at
Biggleswade withInternational cuisine and cooking and
top line acts, and not a cheap clip joint for picking
up tarts -- that was right out, I deny that completely
--, and one evening in walks Dinsdale with a couple of
big lads, one of whom was carrying a tactical nuclear
missile. They said I had bought one of their fruit
machines and would I pay for it

2nd Interviewer: How much did they want?

Vercotti: They wanted three quarters of a million

2nd Interviewer: Why didn't you call the police?

Vercotti: Well I had noticed that the lad with the
thermonuclear device was the chief constable for the
area. So a week later they called again and told me the
cheque had bounced and said... I had to see... Doug.

2nd Interviewer: Doug?

Vercotti: Doug (takes a drink) Well, I was terrified.
Everyone was terrified of Doug. I've seen grown men
pull their own heads off rather than see Doug. Even
Dinsdale was frightened of Doug.

2nd Interviewer: What did he do?

Vercotti: He used... sarcasm. He knew all the tricks,
dramatic irony, metaphor, bathos, puns, parody, litotes
and... satire. He was vicious.

Presenter:By a combination of violence and sarcasm, the
Piranha brothers by February 1966 controlled London and
the Southeast of England. It was in February, though,
that Dinsdale made a big mistake.

Gloria:Latterly Dinsdale had become increasingly
worried about Spiny Norman. He had come to the
conclusion that Norman slept in an aeroplane hangar at
Luton Airport.

Presenter:And so on Feb 22nd 1966, Dinsdale blew up
Luton. (shot of a H-Bomb exploding) Even the police
began to sit up and take notice.

(Cut back to 'Harry Snapper' Organs)

Organs: The Piranhas realised they had gone too far and
that the hunt was on. They went into hiding. I decided
on a subtle approach, viz. some form of disguise, as
the old helmet and boots are a bit of a giveaway.
Luckily my years with Bristol Rep. stood me in good
stead, as I assumed a bewildering variety of disguises.
I tracked them to Cardiff, posing as the Reverend
Smiler Egret. Hearing they'd gone back to London, I
assumed the identity of a pork butcher, Brian Stoats.
On my arrival in London, I discovered they had returned
to Cardiff, I followed as Gloucester from _King Lear_.
Acting on a hunch I spent several months in Buenos
Aires as Blind Pew, returning through the Panama Canal
as Ratty, in _Toad of Toad Hall_. Back in Cardiff, I
relived my triumph as Sancho Panza in _Man of la
Mancha_ which the "Bristol Evening Post" described as
'a glittering performance of rare perception', although
the "Bath Chronicle" was less than enthusiastic. In
fact it gave me a right panning. I quote

Voice Over: As for the performance of Superintendent
Harry "Snapper" Organs as Sancho Panza, the audience
were bemused by his high-pitched Welsh accent and
intimidated by his abusive ad-libs.

Organs (off screen):The "Western Daily News" said......

Voice over (John Cleese): 'Sancho Panza (Mr Organs)
spoilt an otherwise impeccably choreographed rape scene
by his unscheduled appearance and persistent cries of
"What's all this then?"'

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