I've just watched this series again, for the first time since it was shown in 1996. I enjoyed it just as much, if not more, as I did first time around. The four main characters - Christopher Eccleston, Daniel Craig, Gina McKee and Mark Strong - are superb. It's Peter Vaughan, though, who steals the show - remember him as Grouty in Porridge? - he's magnificent here as a bitter man who thinks he's failed in life. His slow descent into Alzheimer's is utterly enthralling, and superbly done. Great support too from David Bradley, Elspeth Charlton and Alan McManus.
The series starts in 1964 and takes us through to 1995, focussing on pivotal years - most of them involving General Elections - in the characters' lives. We grow to care about these characters - so well-scripted, and so well acted - so much, in a way that only the best film and documentary makers can put our emotions through the wringer.
One tiny quibble - in the opening episode (1964) Barry McGuire's "Eve of Destruction" is heard. That song didn't actually come out till 1965. You know a series is good when the only flaw is a song being played before its time - but even so it fitted the mood of the episode perfectly.
A magnificent series for its time - and like a good wine (and of course, Chris, Daniel, Gina and Mark!) it's aged well. 10/110 from me, and a must-watch - especially if, like me, you're a life-long Labour voter!
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