7.9/10
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7 user 3 critic

When I'm Sixty-Four (2004)

One-off drama about the friendship that grows between two men from very different backgrounds, whose paths cross for the first time as they approach retirement age.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Ray
...
Jim
Peter McNamara ...
Aitch
...
Rollo
...
Billy
...
Pool Attendant
Linda Spurrier ...
Matron
...
Headmaster
...
Caz
Shahnequa Duprey ...
Kelly
...
Lynval
...
Little Ray
Oscar Grounds ...
Adam
...
Denny
Fritha Goodey ...
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Storyline

One-off drama about the friendship that grows between two men from very different backgrounds, whose paths cross for the first time as they approach retirement age.

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Genres:

Drama | Romance

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4 August 2004 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

When I'm Sixty-Four  »

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1.78 : 1
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This drama is part of BBC2's "Time of Your Life" season. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Simply the best
8 August 2004 | by (Bristol, England) – See all my reviews

This is quite simply the best single drama the BBC have delivered in years. Just when you thought they were dumbing-down and wasting the licence fee on makeover shows, they hit you with this beautifully observed and painstakingly constructed story of love in later life which gives clichés a wide berth and delivers honest and believable characters coping with the kind of situation that, frankly, just does not get enough exposure in the media.

Downtrodden Jim, reaching the end of his usefulness in the teaching profession, wants to experience 'life' before he dies. Unfortunately he's saddled with looking after his elderly father and it begins to look as if he's going to be exchanging one form of stultifying prison existence for another. Then into his life comes Ray, taxi driver and ex-football hooligan, who is serving his own life sentence, enslaved by a family who neither appreciate him nor have any sympathy with his ongoing grief for his dead wife.

The two men are opposites in almost every respect, but as they each begin to resolve their personal dilemmas and come to terms with homosexual longings they have suppressed for decades the viewer is on the edge of his or her seat willing them to succeed. By the time they reach the bedroom their tender clumsiness together has been so well established that no graphic details are necessary; we know they'll muddle through somehow.

Alun Armstrong is an actor of great depth and integrity and any project bearing his name is always going to be worth watching, but he's a revelation here; his sensitive and understated performance never once strays in the direction of camp parody. Paul Freeman, on the other hand, was a real surprise; not being familiar with his other work I had no idea what to expect but he made Ray a whole person, a man who at last found himself open to the adventure of falling in love. Nor was there a single member of the supporting cast who hit a wrong note anywhere, and the direction and production design were disciplined and

  • for want of a better word - sane. The whole tone of the play was


matter-of-fact and sympathetic; "Hey, guess what, men *do* sometimes fall in love with each other." It may not always be tidy or convenient, but then nor is any *other* aspect of life.

Thank you, cast, crew, writer, commissioning editor and everyone else who had the foresight to be involved in this - but most of all, Mr Armstrong and Mr Freeman, thank you for making me believe.


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