In 1964, to explore the adage "Give me a child until he is seven and I will give you the man," World in Action filmed seven-year-olds. Every seven years, Michael Apted visits them. At 49, 12 agree to talk about family, work, their hopes, and the series. We also see footage from previous interviews. Some marriages seem stronger; some have ended. Being a parent or a grandparent dominates life's pleasures. Simon has found responsibility; John's charity work flourishes. Neil remains in politics, against all odds. Jackie leads the critique of a more deliberately-present Apted and the series' intrusiveness. None enjoy participating; all are reflective; several surpass expectations.Written by
By the time this update was made, 12 of the original 14 children were still taking part, with Charles having dropped out at 21, and Peter at 28. Although John had dropped out at 42 he returned for this installment. See more »
Shout to the Lord
by Darlene Zschech
Sung by Neil's church group See more »
Thoughts about value
I have recently watched all of the Up series, finishing with 49 Up this evening. While I have enjoyed the series and been fascinated by the people involved, I did agree with John somewhat that it's a bit like Big Brother or some other reality series.
Upon talking it over with my husband, however, I find that I have misjudged it. The series does have a lasting value that is not present in entertainment based reality TV shows. What does the series teach us? Tolerance and acceptance of our own fallible judgments. We see these people at 7 and we decide what they will be doing at 21 or 35. Inevitably we're wrong on some important level. What this shows us is that we can never truly know someone, especially someone we don't have an intimate family relationship with, because we never get more than a glimpse into their inner life.
At 7 I didn't like Tony. At 21 I didn't like Suzie. The only person I have admired from the beginning is Bruce. Now, at 49, I find them all interesting, individual people and I have a great deal of respect for each of them. They have made their lives something to be proud of. They bring value into the lives of their families and communities, but also to those of us who only see a tiny portion of their lives every 7 years.
This isn't reality TV. This is reality- this is life being lived by real people. I hope they will continue to do the program, despite the intrusion. I hope they will understand that they do bring something more into our lives than a couple hours entertainment.
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