A nine part series depicting the varying fortunes of four friends - Nicky, Geordie, Mary and Tosker - from the optimistic times of 1964 to the uncertainties of 1995. Taking nine pivotal ...
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A nine part series depicting the varying fortunes of four friends - Nicky, Geordie, Mary and Tosker - from the optimistic times of 1964 to the uncertainties of 1995. Taking nine pivotal years (1964, 1966, 1967, 1970, 1974, 1979, 1984, 1987, 1995) the personal lives of the characters become intertwined with the political struggles of their home town of Newcastle, and the capital, London. We also see the machinations behind the scenes that affect their lives, often for the worse: slum housing projects, police corruption, the rise of Thatcherism, political sleaze, and specific events like the 1984 Miners' Strike. Written by
Alasdair Mackenzie <email@example.com>
Two directors were finally chosen to helm the project - Stuart Urban was assigned the first five episodes and Simon Cellan Jones the final four. However, after completing the first two episodes and some of the shooting for the third, Urban left the project after disagreements with the production team. Peter Flannery was concerned that Urban's directorial style was not suited to the material that he had written. Christopher Eccleston's viewpoint is that Urban was "only interested in painting pretty pictures." Charles Pattinson agreed that a change was needed, and Michael Jackson agreed to a change of director mid-way through production, which was unusual for a British television drama of this type so far into proceedings. Director Pedr James was hired to shoot the remainder of what were to have been Urban's episodes. See more »
[to the driver how dropped him off, first lines]
Our story began, one summer night in 1964, as I cam back to see me friends. I could see now, 31 years later, we were all going to make decisions that would change our lives forever.
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When this was broadcast in 1996 it was really important. Britain was tired of the Tories and they were incompetent but also the soul of what drives political ideals was gone. A year after this series was shown the Labour party swept to power. Not that there is a correlation there but the mood of the country had changed.
Fourteen years later - in 2010 - there is so much to admire here, even if the political urgency has past: the writing, production, casting, and threads to the long story, but there also parts that don't work anymore: the sex and corruption theme stands out here. As this is a single writer's work it has great features in character and in the human play that covers 40+ years. It also tends to fall into dirge over the miner's strike - as important as that was but like some other elements it is a bit close to agitprop-theater of the 1970s.
The biggest impression made now is that we have lost this type of story on TV. We are too involved with reality TV rubbish and contest shows of dubious merit and consuming more junk than stories about how people live. And finally, in an era of spin politics it reminds us that politics starts from simple things like housing and respect.
It's over 9 hours to watch the whole series and it's worth the time.
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