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Ronald & Reginald Kray
The Kray twins, Reginald (left) and Ronald (right), photographed by David Bailey
|Born||24 October 1933 (both)
Hoxton, London, England
17 March 1995 (aged 61)
Broadmoor Hospital, Slough, England
1 October 2000 (aged 66)
Norwich, Norfolk, England
|Alias(es)||Ronnie & Reggie|
|Charge(s)||Murders of George Cornell and Jack “The Hat” McVitie|
|Penalty||In 1969 both were sentenced to life imprisonment, with a non-parole period of thirty years.|
|Occupation||Gangsters and club owners|
Frances Shea (m. 1965–1967)
Roberta Jones (m. 1997–2000)
Elaine Mildener (m. 1985–1989)
Kate Howard (m. 1989–1994)
|Parents||Charles Kray and Violet Lee-Kray|
Reginald “Reggie” Kray (24 October 1933 – 1 October 2000) and his twin brother Ronald “Ronnie” Kray (24 October 1933 – 17 March 1995) were the foremost perpetrators of organised crime in London’s East End during the 1950s and 1960s. Ronald, commonly referred to as Ron or Ronnie, most likely suffered from paranoid schizophrenia. The Krays were involved in armed robberies, arson, protection rackets, violent assaults including tortureand the murders of Jack “The Hat” McVitie and George Cornell. As West End nightclub owners, they mixed with prominent entertainers including Diana Dors, Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland and politicians. The Krays were highly feared within their social environment, and in the 1960s they became celebrities in their own right, being photographed by David Bailey and interviewed on television. They were arrested on 9 May 1968 and convicted in 1969 by the efforts of a squad of detectives led by Detective Superintendent Leonard “Nipper” Read, and were both sentenced to life imprisonment.
Ronnie remained in Broadmoor Hospital until his death on 17 March 1995, but Reggie was released from prison on compassionate grounds in August 2000, eight weeks before his death in October from cancer.
Ronnie and Reggie Kray were born on 24 October 1933 in Hoxton, East London, to Charles David “Charlie” Kray, Sr, (10 March 1907 – 8 March 1983), a scrap gold dealer, and Violet Lee (5 August 1909 – 4 August 1982). Reggie was born roughly 10 minutes before twin Ronnie. Charlie and Violet already had a six-year old son, Charlie Jr, (9 July 1926 – 4 Apr 2000). A sister, Violet, born 1929, died in infancy. When the twins were three years old, they were struck down with diphtheria and recovered. Ron almost died from a head injury suffered in a fight with his twin brother in 1942.Early life
In 1938, having previously lived in Stene Street, Hoxton, the Kray family moved to 178 Vallance Road, Bethnal Green. At the start of the Second World War, Charlie Kray Senior was called up into the army, but went into hiding travelling the country as a trader and avoiding the law.
The influence of their grandfather, Jimmy “Cannonball” Lee, led both boys into amateur boxing, which was at that time a popular pursuit for working-class boys in the East End. An element of rivalry between them spurred them on, and they achieved some success. They are said never to have lost a bout before turning professional at the age of 19.
The Kray twins became famous locally for their gang and the mayhem they caused. They narrowly avoided prison several times and in early 1952 they were called up for National Service with the Royal Fusiliers. They deserted several times, each time being recaptured.
While absent without leave, the twins assaulted a police officer who had spotted them and was trying to arrest them. They were initially held at the Tower of London (they were among the very last prisoners ever kept there) before being sent to Shepton Mallet military prison in Somerset and gaoled for a month awaiting court-martial. They ended up being gaoled in the Home Counties Brigade Depot gaol in Canterbury, Kent. Their behaviour there was so bad that in the end they were given a dishonourable discharge from the service; for the last few weeks of their imprisonment, when their fate was a certainty anyway, they tried to dominate the exercise area immediately outside their one man cells. They threw tantrums, upended their latrine bucket over a sergeant, similarly dumped a dixie (a large camp kettle) full of hot tea on a guard, handcuffed another guard to the prison bars with a pair of stolen cuffs, and burned their bedding. Eventually they were discharged, but not before escaping from the guardhouse and being recaptured by the army one last time. The escape was executed when they were moved from a one man cell to a communal cell and they assaulted their guard with a china vase. Still, once recaptured and while awaiting transfer to civilian authority for crimes committed during their most recent period at large, they spent their last night in Canterbury drinking cider, eating crisps, and smoking cigarillos courtesy of the young National Servicemen who were acting as their guards.
Their criminal record and dishonourable discharge ended their boxing careers. As a result, the twins turned to crime. They bought a run down local snooker club in Bethnal Green, where they started several protection rackets. By the end of the 1950s, the Krays were involved in hijacking, armed robbery and arson, through which they acquired a few clubs and other properties. In 1960 Ronnie Kray was incarcerated for 18 months on charges of running a protection racket and related threats, and while he was in prison, Peter Rachman, the head of a violent landlord operation, gave Reggie the Esmeralda’s Barn, a nightclub in Knightsbridge. This increased the Krays’ influence in the West End of London, with celebrities and famous people rather than East End criminals. They were assisted by banker Alan Cooper who wanted protection from the Krays’ rivals, the Richardsons, who were based in South London.
The twins then had a turf war with Islington’s then infamous criminal twins, Brendan and Daniel Gallagher.
In the 1960s, they were widely seen as prosperous and charming celebrity nightclub owners and were part of the Swinging London scene. A large part of their fame was due to their non-criminal activities as popular figures on the celebrity circuit, being photographed by David Bailey on more than one occasion; and socialised with lords, MPs, socialites and show business characters such as the actors George Raft, Judy Garland, Diana Dors, Barbara Windsor and singer Frank Sinatra.
“They were the best years of our lives. They called them the swinging sixties. The Beatles and the Rolling Stones were rulers of pop music, Carnaby Street ruled the fashion world… and me and my brother ruled London. We were fucking untouchable…” – Ronnie Kray, in his autobiographical book, My Story.
Lord Boothby and Tom Driberg
The Krays also came into the public eye when an exposé in the tabloid newspaper Sunday Mirror alleged that Ron had had a sexual relationship with Lord Boothby, a UK Conservative Partypolitician. Although no names were printed, Boothby threatened to sue, the newspaper backed down, sacked its editor, apologised, and paid Boothby £40,000 in an out of court settlement. As a result, other newspapers were less willing to uncover the Krays’ connections and criminal activities.
The police investigated the Krays on several occasions, but the twins’ reputation for violence meant witnesses were afraid to come forward to testify. There was also a political problem for both main parties. It was neither in the interests of the Conservative Party to press the police to end the Krays’ power lest the Boothby connection was again publicised and demonstrated, or those of the Labour Party because their MP Tom Driberg was also rumoured to have had a relationship with Ronnie.
On 12 December 1966 the Krays assisted Frank Mitchell (nicknamed “The Mad Axeman”) (not to be confused with Frankie Fraser – known as “Mad” Frankie Fraser, and contemporaneous, but allied with the rival Richardson gang) in escaping from Dartmoor Prison. Ronnie Kray had befriended Mitchell while they served time together in Wandsworth prison. Mitchell felt the authorities should review his case for parole, so Ronnie felt he would be doing him a favour by getting him out ofDartmoor, highlighting his case in the media and forcing the authorities to act. Once Mitchell was out of Dartmoor, the Krays held him at a friend’s flat in Barking Road. However, as a large man with a mental disorder, he was difficult to deal with and the only course of action was to get rid of him. His body has never been found and the Krays were acquitted of his murder. Freddie Foreman, a former member of The Firm, in his autobiography Respect claimed that Mitchell was shot and the body disposed of at sea.
Ronnie Kray shot and killed George Cornell in the Blind Beggar pub in Whitechapel on 9 March 1966. Ronnie was drinking in another pub when he heard that Cornell was in the Blind Beggar. Taking Reggie’s driver John “Scotch Jack” Dickson and Ian Barrie, his right-hand man, he then killed Cornell. Just before Cornell died, he remarked “Well look who’s here.” There had been a confrontation at Christmas 1965 between the Krays and the Richardsons at the Astor Club, when Cornell, an associate of the Richardsons, referred to Ronnie as a “fat poof“. However, Ronnie denied this and said that the reason for the killing was because he gave him and Reggie threats. The result was a gang war between the two, and Kray associate Richard Hart was murdered at Mr. Smith’s Club in Catford on 8 March 1966. Ronnie avenged Hart’s death by shooting Cornell. “Mad” Frankie Fraser was taken to court for Hart’s murder but was found not guilty. A member of the Richardsons claimed that he saw him kicking Hart. Cornell was the only one to escape from the brawl in top condition so it is likely that Ronnie thought that he was involved in the murder. Owing to intimidation, witnesses would not co-operate with the police.
Jack “the Hat” McVitie
The Krays’ criminal activities continued hidden behind their celebrity status and “legitimate” businesses. In October 1967, four months after the suicide of his wife Frances, Reggie was alleged to have been encouraged by his brother to kill Jack “the Hat” McVitie, a minor member of the Kray gang who had failed to fulfil a £1,500 contract paid to him in advance by the Krays to kill Leslie Payne. McVitie was lured to a basement flat in Evering Road, Stoke Newington on the pretence of a party. As he entered, Reggie Kray pointed a handgun at his head and pulled the trigger twice, but the gun failed to discharge. Ronnie Kray then held McVitie in a bearhug and Reggie Kray was handed a carving knife. He stabbed McVitie in the face and stomach, driving it deep into his neck, twisting the blade, continuing as McVitie lay on the floor dying. Several other members of The Firm including the Lambrianou brothers (Tony and Chris) were convicted of this. In Tony’s biography, he claims that when Reggie was stabbing Jack, his liver came out and he had to flush it down the toilet. McVitie’s body has never been recovered.
Arrest and trial
When Inspector Leonard “Nipper” Read of Scotland Yard was promoted to the Murder Squad, his first assignment was to bring down the Kray twins. It was not his first involvement with Reg and Ron; during the first half of 1964 Read had been investigating their activities, but publicity and official denials surrounding allegations of Ron’s relationship with Boothby had made the evidence he collected useless. Read tackled the problem of convicting the twins with renewed activity in 1967, but frequently came up against the East End “wall of silence”, which discouraged anyone from providing information to the police.
Nevertheless, by the end of 1967 Read had built up evidence against the Krays. There were witness statements incriminating them, as well as other evidence, but none added up to a convincing case on any one charge.
Early in 1968 the twins used a man named Alan Bruce Cooper who hired and sent Paul Elvey to Glasgow to buy explosives for rigging a car bomb. Elvey was the radio engineer who put Radio Sutch, later renamed Radio City on the air in 1964. Police detained him in Scotland and he confessed he had been involved in three botched murder attempts. However, this evidence was weakened by Cooper, who claimed to be an agent for the United States Treasury Department investigating links between the American mafia and the Kray gang. The botched murders were his work, in an attempt to pin something on the Krays. Read tried using Cooper, who was also being employed as a source by one of Read’s superior officers, as a trap for Ron and Reg, but they stayed away from him. See pages 215–222 and pages 250 and 279 of ‘Nipper Read, the man who Nicked the Krays’, by Leonard Read with James Morton. Time-Warner paperbacks, London, 1992. ISBN 0-7515-3175-8.
Conviction and imprisonment
Eventually, a Scotland Yard conference decided to arrest the Krays on the evidence already collected, in the hope that other witnesses would be forthcoming once the Krays were in custody. On 8 May 1968, the Krays and 15 other members of their “firm” were arrested. Many witnesses came forward now that the Krays’ reign of intimidation was over, and it was relatively easy to gain a conviction. The Krays and 14 others were convicted, with one member of the firm being acquitted. One of the firm members that provided a lot of the information to the police was arrested yet only for a short period. Out of the 17 official firm members, 16 were arrested and convicted. The twins’ defence, under their counsel John Platts-Mills, QC, consisted of flat denials of all charges and the discrediting of witnesses by pointing out their criminal past. The judge, Mr Justice Melford Stevenson said: “In my view, society has earned a rest from your activities.” Both were sentenced to life imprisonment, with a non-parole period of 30 years for the murders of Cornell and McVitie, the longest sentences ever passed at the Old Bailey (Central Criminal Court, London) for murder. Their brother Charlie was jailed for 10 years for his part in the murders.
On 11 August 1982, under tight security, Ronnie and Reggie Kray were allowed to attend the funeral of their mother Violet, who had died of cancer the week before, but they were not allowed to attend the graveside service at Chingford Mount cemetery in East London where their mother was interred in the Kray family plot. The service was attended by celebrities including Diana Dors and underworld figures known to the Krays. The twins did not ask to attend their father’s funeral when he died seven months later in March 1983: this was to avoid the publicity that had surrounded their mother’s funeral.
Ronnie was eventually once more certified insane and lived the remainder of his life in Broadmoor Hospital, Crowthorne, dying on 17 March 1995 of a massive heart attack, aged 61. His funeral on 29 March 1995 was a huge event with people lining the streets.
Reggie Kray was a Category A prisoner, denied almost all liberties and not allowed to mix with other prisoners. However, in his later years, he was downgraded to Category C and transferred toNorfolk‘s Wayland Prison.
In 1985, officials at Broadmoor Hospital discovered a business card of Ron’s, which prompted an investigation that revealed the twins – incarcerated at separate institutions – along with their older brother, Charlie, and another accomplice who was not in prison, were operating a “lucrative bodyguard and ‘protection’ business for Hollywood stars”. Documents released under Freedom of Information laws revealed that officials were concerned about this operation, called Krayleigh Enterprises, but believed there was no legal basis to shut it down. Documentation of the investigation reveals Frank Sinatra hired 18 bodyguards from Krayleigh Enterprises in 1985.
During incarceration, Reggie became a born again Christian. After serving more than the recommended 30 years he was sentenced to in March 1969, he was finally freed from Wayland on 26 August 2000, at almost 67-years-old. He was released on compassionate grounds as a result of having inoperable bladder cancer. The final weeks of his life were spent with his wife Roberta, whom he had married while in Maidstone prison in July 1997, in a suite at the Townhouse Hotel at Norwich, having left Norwich hospital on 22 September 2000. On 1 October 2000, Reggie Kray died in his sleep. Ten days later, he was buried alongside his brother Ronnie, in Chingford cemetery.
Elder brother Charlie Kray was released in 1975 after serving seven years, but returned to prison in 1997 for conspiracy to smuggle cocaine worth £69m in an undercover drugs sting. He died of natural causes in prison on 4 April 2000, six months before Reggie’s death.
Despite negative cultural attitudes of the time, Ronnie was openly bisexual, evidenced by his book My Story and a confession to writer Robin McGibbon on The Kray Tapes where he states, “I’m bisexual, not gay. Bisexual.” He also planned on marrying a lady called Monica in the 1960s but was arrested before he had the chance. This is mentioned in Reggie’s book Born Fighter. Reggie once had a one night stand with Barbara Windsor, whose EastEnders character Peggy Mitchell was reputedly based on Violet Kray (e.g. her matriarchy over two thuggish sons).
In an interview with author John Pearson, Ronnie indicated a strong identification with Gordon of Khartoum, explaining: “Gordon was like me, ‘omosexual, and he met his death like a man. When it’s time for me to go, I hope I do the same.”
||This section contains weasel words: vague phrasing that often accompanies biased or unverifiable information. Such statements should be clarified or removed. (January 2011)|
Some[who?] believe the Krays’ sentences were harsher than deserved and that they were made an example of. The Kray twins were tried as separate, responsible adults, although it was argued[by whom?] that Ronnie dominated his brother and was a paranoid schizophrenic.
There was a long-running campaign, with some minor celebrity support, to have the twins released from prison, but successive Home Secretaries vetoed the idea, largely on the grounds that the Krays’ prison records were both marred by violence towards other inmates. The campaign gathered momentum after the release of a film based on their lives called The Krays in 1990. Produced by Ray Burdis, it starred ex-members of Spandau Ballet brothers Martin Kemp, who played the role of Reggie, and Gary Kemp, who played Ronnie.
Some[who?] argue that Reggie’s several attempted murders, and the murder of Jack McVitie, were carried out as a result of Ronnie’s prompting, and to show that he was equal to Ronnie’s earlier murders. Reggie wrote: “I seem to have walked a double path most of my life. Perhaps an extra step in one of those directions might have seen me celebrated rather than notorious.” Others, however, point to Reggie’s violent prison record when he was being detained separately from Ronnie and argue that in reality, the twins’ temperaments were little different.
Reggie’s marriage to Frances Shea in 1965 lasted eight weeks, although the marriage was never formally dissolved. An inquest came to the conclusion that she committed suicide in 1967, but in 2002 an ex lover of Reggie Kray came forward to allege that Frances was actually murdered by a jealous Ronnie. Bradley Allardyce spent three years in Maidstone prison with Reggie and explained, “I was sitting in my cell with Reg and it was one of those nights where we turned the lights down low and put some nice music on and sometimes he would reminisce. He would get really deep and open up to me. He suddenly broke down and said ‘I’m going to tell you something I’ve only ever told two people and something I’ve carried around with me’ – something that had been a black hole since the day he found out. He put his head on my shoulder and told me Ronnie killed Frances. He told Reggie what he had done two days after.”
When Ronnie spent three years in prison, Reggie is said to have turned the “firm” around, putting it on a sound financial footing, and removing many of the more violent and less appealing aspects, if not actually turning it legal. Some[who?] speculate that without his brother, Reggie could have turned the “firm” into one of the largest and most successful criminal organisations in Europe; however, the Kray business was always built on their reputation for savage violence, and it was Ronnie who was principally responsible. The twins were never able to cope well apart.
In 2009 a British television documentary, the Gangster and the Pervert Peer, was aired which revealed that Ronnie Kray was in fact a male rapist (commonly referred to in criminal circles as a “nonce case”). The programme also went on to detail his relationship with Tory Lord Bob Boothby as well as an ongoing Daily Mirror investigation into Lord Boothby’s dealings with the Kray brothers. 
In popular culture
||This “In popular culture” section may contain minor or trivial references. Please reorganize this content to explain the subject’s impact on popular culture rather than simply listing appearances, and remove trivial references. (August 2011)|
- Performance (1970), directed by Nicolas Roeg, featured a London gangster named Harry Flowers (played by Johnny Shannon) who surrounded himself with muscle magazines and rent boys; the character and his milieu were inspired by Ronnie Kray.
- Villain (1971) starred Richard Burton as sadistic, homosexual London gang leader Vic Dakin, a character modelled on Ronnie Kray.
- The Long Good Friday (1980) used the Kray Twins as inspiration for the protagonist Harold Shand. Bob Hoskins, who played Shand, reportedly received a letter from the Krays in prison congratulating him on his presentation of a London gangster in the film.
- The Krays (1990), written by the Bethnal Green born artist and dramatist Philip Ridley, starred brothers Gary and Martin Kemp of the band Spandau Ballet as the Krays.
- The 2005 film, Hell to Pay (directed by Roberto Gomez Martin), features an oil-on-canvas work which depicts the crucifixion. Ronnie Kray painted the work in prison and later gave it as a present to former gangster Dave Courtney.
- Nadiya Kollappetta Rathri (2007), a Malayalam film starring Suresh Gopi directed by K. Madhu. The person who attempts a killing in the film draws inspiration from the story of the Kray brothers.
Many books address the Kray brothers’ reign including several written by one or both twins. Those most critically acclaimed include:
Books by the Kray brothers
- Our Story, by Reg & Ron Kray (1989) – ISBN 0-330-30818-1
- Born Fighter, by Reg Kray (1991)- ISBN 0-09-987810-0
- My Story, by Ron Kray (1994) – ISBN 0-330-33507-3
- A Way of Life: Over Thirty Years of Blood, Sweat and Tears, by Reggie Kray (2001) – ISBN 0-330-48511-3
Books by other authors
- The Kray twins are mentioned frequently in Jake Arnott‘s first novel, The Long Firm (1999), wherein the main character, Harry Starks, is a fictional homosexual East End gangster in the 1960s who has a criminal career similar to the Krays’.
- Carol Ann Duffy has written a poem entitled “The Kray Sisters”, in which she changes the story of the Kray twins into a women’s format. There are clear links to the original story, with characters in the poem such as “Cannonball Vi”, a clear mix of the twins’ grandfather and mother.
- The Balvak Twins, who like the Krays, run organised crime in the West End, are recurring antagonists for Detective Sergeant Suzie Mountford in a series of police procedural novels by John Gardner. However, the Balvaks’ activities take place during World War II rather than the 1960s.
- The Kray twins are mentioned in the second part of Tu Rostro Mañana, a novel by Javier Marías. One of the characters refers to them in order to explain why he carries a sword in his overcoat.
- The Cult of Violence: The Untold Story of the Krays, by John Pearson (2002) – ISBN 0752847-94-5
- The Profession of Violence: Rise and Fall of the Kray Twins, by John Pearson – First published in 1972 by Weidenfeld and Nicolson
- In J.K. Rowling‘s Harry Potter series, the main villain, Lord Voldemort is so feared that most wizards and witches refer to him as “You-Know-Who” or “He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named”. According to Rowling, this was inspired by the Kray twins’ very names being taboo.
- The Kray twins feature many times in Addict by Stephen Smith, a book about Smith’s struggle with drugs.
- Charlie Bronson, “Britain’s Most Violent Prisoner”, became a trusted friend of the Kray twins in prison and wrote The Krays and Me: Blood, Honour and Respect. Doing Porridge With the Krays. He also included a poem about the Krays on the last page of his workout book Solitary Fitness.
- Ghoul by Michael Slade makes many references to the Kray twins as British police officers struggle to solve a slew of homocides in London.
A number of artists mention the Kray twins in songs:
- Blur mention Ronnie in their single, “Charmless Man“, from The Great Escape album (1995).
- Ray Davies has the line “and don’t forget the Kray Twins” in his song, “London Song”, on the album The Storyteller and EP Thanksgiving Day.
- James Kensit, the brother of singer and actress Patsy Kensit, is Reggie Kray’s godson.
- The Libertines mention they “saw two shadow men on the Vallance Road” in their song “Up the Bracket“.
- Morrissey sings about the twins in “The Last of the Famous International Playboys” (1989).
- Dutch band, Nits, released a song called “The Twins” on their 2008 album, Doing the Dishes. The song tells the story of the Kray Twins’ gun fight in a bar, where they hit the jukebox with a bullet, stopping the song (“The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore“).
- Ronnie and Reggie feature on the cover of the unofficial Oasis interview CD, Wibbling Rivalry, released by Fierce Panda.
- The first single by the electronic band, Renegade Soundwave, in 1986 was “Kray Twins” and featured Ronnie and Reggie Kray on the record sleeve.
- UFO‘s song, “Profession of Violence” on The Wild, the Willing and the Innocent album (1981), was inspired by a book about the Kray twins’ life, which a decade later was portrayed in a movie by the Kemp brothers (of UFO’s labelmates, Spandau Ballet).
- On the album “The Story So Far” (1981) by British post punk group The Mo-dettes one song is called “Kray Twins”.
- Billy Childish‘s group the Pop Rivets released a song called “Kray Twins” in 1979.
- In episode 3 of the sixth series of Old Harry’s Game, titled “Murderers”, the Kray twins are part of a symposium of murderers called together by Satan in order to get some insight into a murderer’s mindset. In an unwise moment of anger, Thomas Crimp calls Ronnie a “big Cockney poof”, which begins an attack on Crimp by the Krays and turns into a free-for-all fight forcing Satan to call for back-up.
- Ronnie Kray had a mention in series 2, episode 6 of The Armstrong and Miller Show in the song, “When You’re Gay”.
- The Comic Strip team did their take on the Krays with Alexei Sayle in the role of both twins as the Moss Brothers, Carl and Sterling, in Didn’t You Kill My Brother?
- The long-running TV drama EastEnders has featured a gangland organisation called The Firm. The characters Ronnie and Roxy Mitchell are modelled on The Krays, hence their names. As Reggie is a male name, it was changed to Roxy for the EastEnders role of one of the Mitchell sisters.
- Kate Kray – the ex-wife of Ronnie Kray – showed the glamorous yet restricted lives of women who married gangsters in the documentary Gangsters’ Wives.
- The time-travelling hero of Goodnight Sweetheart has several passing encounters with the Kray twins as children in East-End London of the 1940s.
- In episode 3 of the second series of the BBC programme Monkey Dust, a minor character who frequently marries criminals, has her surnames read out in a marriage ceremony to Ivan Dobsky. Two of these surnames are “Kray” (among surnames of other infamous criminals).
- The Krays were the inspiration behind the Monty Python “Piranha Brothers” sketch. This sketch was rooted in fact; even the tale of nailing someone to the floor is based on the murder of Jack “the Hat” McVitie, who was pinned to the floor with a long knife. Inspector Leonard “Nipper” Read became “Superintendent Harry ‘Snapper’ Organs”.
- In the TV series Top Gear, during a challenge to decide the best van, each presenter was timed to see how long he would take to be caught by a police car driven by The Stig. Here, James Maywas called James Kray in light of the comical criminal challenge.
- The British TV series, Waking the Dead, featured a two-parter called “Deathwatch” in which the cold-case detectives investigated a murder related to a pair of East-End gangster brothers from the early 60s called the Suttons, who were clearly based on the Krays: one was described as psychotic and the photos used to depict them were similar to those of the Krays.
- In 1991, a children’s TV puppet show called The Winjin Pom featured two crow siblings called Ronnie and Reggie (the “Crows”) who were always after the goodies to steal their magical camper van named after the show title, but always failed.
- Association with (or former association with) the Krays is also seen as a sign of prestige in many social circles, or an indication of Cockney authenticity. This attitude was spoofed in the British television series The Young Ones with Robbie Coltrane as a bouncer claiming “…and I was at Violet’s funeral”, a reference to the twins’ mother.
- Whitechapel II, a 2010 ITV drama series in which supposed descendants of the Kray twins copy their crimes.
- Hale and Pace, a UK comedy double act, regularly performs as ‘The Management’ where they dress in the black suit and tie style of bouncers. Their conversations are delivered in a monotone stereotypical East London gangster accent. Throughout the dialogue they both refer to each other as ‘Ron’.
- On the Final episode of The Inbetweeners, Jay tells simon that his dad is playing Poker with Danny Dyer and The Krays, which Will says Aren’t The Krays dead.
- Reginald Kray was mentioned in “Russell Brand’s Ponderland S02E03 Education” in a joke as comparison to a school truant’s mother.
- In Only Fools And Horses the Driscall brothers are portraited as the Kray twins.
- Peter Straughan‘s play, Bones, features a character who claims to be Reggie Kray and begins to heavily influence the actions of the other characters.
In video games
- In The Getaway, a gangster named Charlie Jolson says that he used to run London “with real men like Ronnie and Reggie”.
- In The Getaway: Black Monday Danny introduces Arthur, the cleaner of the operation, saying “He used to work for the Krays ya know.”
- Grand Theft Auto Mission Pack #1: London, 1969 features a pair of twin gangsters named Albert and Archie Crisp who are a reference to the Kray twins.
- Privateer 2: The Darkening features a mission in which the player has to deal with a pair of gangsters named the Bray Twins.
In science and engineering