In 1964, a film crew interviewed seven-year-old English kids: five or six from privilege, a Yorkshire farm lad, East-End girls, and boys from a children's home. Every seven years, Michael Apted re-interviews those willing (two declined this time). At 42, careers are stuck or flourishing; marriages are strong, shaky, or over (and Bruce recently married for the first time). They're dealing with parents' dying, and children coming-of-age. One is a single mom with young sons. One is remarried, but how are the five children from his first marriage? Lyn and Jackie face health problems with down-to-earth lucidity. Neil, on the margin at 28 and 35, has a glorious story of friendship at 42. Written by
As a UK-born and resident who is 2 years older than the participants of this series, all I can say to Michael Apted is thank you. This series has been a record of the social, economic and cultural influences over my own life. It may surprise some of your US readers to know that there was a brief window of opportunity for working class (blue collar)kids in the late 70's and early 80's to access higher education in the UK. It is a pity that no-one in the 7up series accessed such chances as I did; now working as a forensic psychologist (having left high school at 16 with nothing worth a damn). Nevertheless, I feel enormously proud of the working class kids in the series in the way they have handled the challenges of their twenties and thirties; I am so pleased that Apted has reflected their lives without judgement. As a woman, I am equally proud of Suzie, who survived probably the most apparently 'deprived' childhood to grow into a confident, warm and happy wife and mother. Finally, who could fail to have a corner of their heart reserved for Neil and for Bruce who reached out a helping hand - these people feel like my friends. Thank you so much to all of you for sharing your lives so generously - please don't stop. I am REALLY looking forward to my next 'postcard' from you in 49 UP. You have been, and will continue to be,an inspiration to others in your simple humanity and your enormous dignity, reflected so skilfully by Michael Apted. Love him or hate him, at least he has remained loyal to this fantastic and unparallelled project.
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