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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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
This is truly one of the finest series to come out of Britain. It took writer Flannery 15 years to get the series made, and when it was eventually produced the UK channel BBC2 spent their entire drama budget for the year on it. However, it was a fine investment.
The lives of four friends from Newcastle are followed from 1964 to 1995, against a backdrop of massive social and political change. It says much for the quality of the writing and the performances of the principal actors that you find yourself getting heavily involved with the characters' lives and caring a great deal for them. The leads have gone on to further successes, but this series catches them all early in their careers, and on astonishing form.
It was, in hindsight, a good thing that it took so long to get the show made. Flannery's original play ended in 1980, but the elongated production process enabled him to write more and more about the characters' fortunes, and take them another 15 years into the future. The most changed character was Geordie, who served in the army in Rhodesia in the original play, but finds himself instead in swinging London in a strip club in the finished series.
Do yourself a favour. Pick up the DVD set, and savour 14 hours of top television. It will make you think, it will move you, and we will never see its like again.
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