After a two-year stint in the National Service on a Royal Navy minesweeper, he returned to London where he secured a job as a teleprompter operator for the BBC. This gave him his first experience in television, allowing him to observe the inner workings of the studio and begin writing his own stories. His first script to get attention was Some Will Cry Murder, written for ABC’s Armchair Theatre series. Although the script was never produced, it gained the attention of British producers who began recruiting Hodges for writing assignments, allowing him to quit his job as a teleprompter operator and began writing advertising copy.
His working in advertising led to television directing and producing jobs on the documentary series World in Action and the serials Tempo and The Tyrant King. In 1969 Hodges was able to direct his first full-length movie for television, the thriller Suspect, which premiered as part of the ITV Playhouse. This was followed by another directing/writing/producing effort for ITV Playhouse in 1970—Rumour. The success of these two films prompted his hiring to direct and write an adaptation of the novel Jack’s Return Home which became the British gangster classic, Get Carter (1971).
This was followed by a steady string of directing and writing efforts such as Pulp (1972), The Terminal Man (1974), the cult classic Flash Gordon (1980), Morons from Outer Space (1985), A Prayer for the Dying (1987), Black Rainbow (1989), Croupier (1998), I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead (2003), and the documentary Murder by Numbers (2004). Hodges’ later television work includes the movies Missing Pieces (1983), Squaring the Circle (1984), Florida Straits (1987), The Healer, the miniseries Dandelion Dead (1994) and an episode of the series The Hitchhiker (1985).