New BBC 5 Live Podcast Unravels The Story Of Birmingham’s Most Notorious Criminal Gang, The Burger Bar Boys

Hit BBC podcast Gangster returns with a new series charting the rise and fall of one of the UK’s most notorious criminal gangs, the Burger Bar Boys.

Presented by investigative journalist Livvy Haydock, the first two episodes of the six-part series will be available to hear on BBC Sounds on 3 November, taking listeners on a journey of guns and gangs which spans more than two decades.

Produced by the team that created the top-rated podcast Gangster – The Story of John Palmer, Haydock uncovers the true story of the West Midlands gang, The Burger Bar Boys. Listeners will hear first-hand accounts of how the ruthless organisation, whose intense rivalry with their arch-enemies the Johnsons, led to Birmingham earning the title of the UK's gun and gang capital in the early part of 21st century.

The series hears Sophie Ellis, daughter of one of the founding members of The Johnsons, Arthur ‘Super D’ Ellis and twin sister of Charlene Ellis, who was murdered during a shooting on New Year’s Day 2003, open up to Haydock about her experience and how that night still has an impact on her family twenty years on.

Reflecting on their conversation, Livvy, says: “This series delves into the untold story that led to one of Britain’s most horrific drive by shootings, revealing the people that propelled Birmingham to become Britain’s gun capital. Our interview with Sophie, whose twin and best friend Letisha Shakespeare were killed, was a conversation I will never forget.”

The Burger Bar Boys rose to prominence following Birmingham's Handsworth race riots of the early 1980s before evolving into the brutal drug-running, machine-gun wielding outfit of the 1990s.

From their humble origins in a Burger Bar on Soho Road, where the gang used to meet and the birth of the Johnson Crew in the nearby Johnson's café, the series hears from those living in the epicentre of the violence - teachers involved in keeping children away from the streets and doctors who became experts in treating gun wounds talk about how both gangs left a trail of destruction as they battled for supremacy across the city.

Livvy also interviews police officers and journalists who were involved in the Burger Bar Boy investigation. This includes is the remarkable story of a policeman called Neil Woods aka ‘Woody’ who risked his life to go undercover as a Burger Bar Boys member as their reach threatened to extend beyond Birmingham.

Episodes one and two of Gangster: The Burger Bar Boys is available to hear on BBC Sounds from Friday 3 November, with two episodes releasing weekly.

Picture: BBC


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