7 items from 2015
Tom Beasley bids farewell to This Is England with a review of the final, feature-length episode of This Is England ’90, which looks set to be the end of the decade-old franchise…
It’s finally happened. After the best part of a decade on our screens – whether big or small – Shane Meadows has finally called time on his This Is England universe. With that, we must bid a fond, if bittersweet, farewell to one of the most loveable, complex and, above all else, real ensembles of characters ever committed to television. True to form, though, they went out in a hail of violence, tears and four letter words.
Following directly from last week‘s chilling final scene in which Milky (Andrew Shim) plotted violent retribution against Combo (Stephen Graham), the finale opened with Combo starting a new job. He’d moved out of Lol (Vicky McClure) and Woody’s (Joe Gilgun »
- Tom Beasley
This is the end of This Is England - and bringing his powerful working-class saga to a close would seem no mean feat for series mastermind Shane Meadows. Both the original movie and its TV spinoffs have been of a spectacularly high quality, Meadows' truthful scripts and the scarily authentic performances of the cast fostering our deep investment in the characters.
That said, last week's episode was a devastating outpouring of emotion that set the stage superbly for this grand finale, with Milky (Andrew Shim) plotting revenge on Combo (Stephen Graham) - the reformed thug who once viciously assaulted him.
In its final TV outing, This Is England finally addresses that brutal moment from the '03 film - something that until now it's always danced around. There's a feeling of coming full circle that permeates this finale from the off, Meadows opening with one last example of his trademark montage. »
From the moment we’re tossed back into the world of This Is England ’90, it’s as if we’ve never been away. Shane Meadows’ captures the milieu of working class Britain and the lives of his ensemble cast just as well now as he did in 2006’s incendiary film This Is England. That film, and its two sequel series set in 1986 and 1988, serve as a chronicle of the Thatcher years and a torturous time for the working classes in the UK. This time around, though, as Meadows returns to the universe for reportedly the final time, things are a little different. Maggie has shuffled out of Downing Street and there’s a cautious optimism in the air.
No one crushes that optimism quite like Meadows, but he is keen »
- Tom Beasley
"De-de-de-ding-ding / dig-a-dig-a-ding / a-flinky-flonk / wanky-shank ding-dong."
So this is England, 1990 - and Shane Meadows' latest follow-on from his 2006 film appears, on the surface, to be the saga's sunniest outing to date.
Our first reunion with the gang - 2010's This Is England '86 - was perhaps the most bleak. Replete with rape, murder and betrayal, it was to be admired rather than enjoyed.
The following year's '88 didn't spare the heartbreak either, but ended on a more optimistic note - and the beginning of '90 follows through on that, kicking off with a more positive outlook.
First episode 'Spring' - the four episodes being divided into the four seasons - opens with some good-natured larks, as Gadget (Andrew Ellis), Shaun (Thomas Turgoose) and Milky (Andrew Shim) wangle a free school lunch off of dinner lady kitchen boss Lol (Vicky McClure).
Milky's insistence that "the good times will come again" is »
As This Is England ’90 comes to TV, we look back over the rest of Shane Meadows’ brutal, funny and warmly empathetic series…
Try a bit of mental calculation: how many punches in total would you say you’ve seen thrown on screen? Bloodied faces? Kicks to the head? Unless you’ve kept your TV and film intake to a strict diet of family animation (and even then…), that total is likely to be swirling around the thousands.
Now, think of the number of times an on-screen attack has stopped your breath in your chest. When each kick has landed with nauseating weight and filled you not with ringside exhilaration but with dread. In short, how often have you been made to really care about an act of on-screen violence?
That was Shane Meadows’ aim in This Is England, the 2006 feature film that introduced the world to Shaun, Woody, Lol, Combo, »
This Is England '90 now has an air date.
Two years after the events of This Is England '88, the upcoming four-part outing follows the same group of youths in the north of England including Lol (Vicky McClure), Shaun (Thomas Turgoose) and Woody (Joe Gilgun).
Flip (Perry Fitzpatrick), Higgy (Joe Dempsie), Smell (Rosamund Hanson), Kelly (Chanel Cresswell), Harvey (Michael Socha), Trev (Danielle Watson), Gadget (Andrew Ellis) and Milky (Andrew Shim) are back as well.
The miniseries will premiere its first episode at the Edinburgh International Television Festival later this month. »
The bright, brilliant fashion of the 1980s has often been captured on film – the over-the-top nature of the clothes lends itself beautifully to cinema, with some of the most iconic outfits of all time captured in this era. To celebrate the home entertainment release of A Most Violent Year, in which Jessica Chastain showcases an incredible array of 1980s-era Armani, we take a look at other films which demonstrate the fashion of the decade.
Richard Ayoade’s comedy drama stars Craig Roberts as 15 year-old Oliver Tate, who has two major ambitions – to lose his virginity to the beautiful Jordana (Yamin Paige), and to save his parents’ rocky relationship (a task made all the more difficult when his mother’s ex-lover reappears in their lives). Costume designer Charlotte Walters does a brilliant job of capturing the wonderfully quirky take on the classic coming-of-age tale, dressing the young cast in a wonderful array of duffle coats, »
- Jazmine Sky Bradley
7 items from 2015
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