Tuesday, August 08, 2006

‘Our Friends in the North’ by Peter Flannery

28 April 2006

We finished watching the re-run of ‘Our Friends in the North’ last weekend. The 1996 TV serial following the lives of four friends from the 1960s to the 1990s (and through them the recent political history of the country) was repeated recently – 10 years on – on BBC4. It really was excellent and I was in floods of tears by the end of the last episode – as I was 10 years ago!

The scope of the story – encompassing both the personal and the political – the way the various narratives are interwoven, the use of music and, above all, the acting were all superb. The four lead actors (Christopher Eccleston, Gina McKee, Mark Strong and Daniel Craig) are fantastic and there is a show stealing tour de force from Peter Vaughan.

I think the TV serial is the most satisfying of drama formats, allowing much greater character development than a play or film – in a good TV serial you really begin to see the character rather than the actor. And ‘Our Friends in the North’ would have to be one my ‘Desert Island TV serials’ – if you’ve never seen it ask for the DVD next Christmas! (Since you ask, off the top of my head the others would be ‘The Singing Detective’, Brideshead Revisited, ‘Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy’, John Byrne’s ‘Tutti Frutti’, Alan Bleasdale’s ‘GBH’, the recent Andrew Davies version of ‘Bleak House’ and, if you will allow me Sue, Edgar Reitz’s ‘Heimat’ films. And if I could only take one it would have to be the Dennis Potter.)

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