Best TV series this year 26 years old and starring future James Bond and future Doctor Who

You won’t find a better TV series in 2022 than Our Friends in the North, which starts on BBC4 tonight. This seems like a pretty big claim for something that’s 26 years old, but I haven’t seen anything else this year, or anything 26 years ago for that matter, to convince. me otherwise.

or do i expect anytime soon. British television, currently dominated by derivative murder mysteries and grueling psychological thrillers, doesn’t really make TV series of this kind and of this scale anymore.

Peter Flannery’s nine-part series (the term “miniseries” was still American stuff at the time) was first shown on BBC2 from 15 January to 11 March 1996. It was a sensation. instant sensation.

Viewers and critics alike were intrigued from the start, and its four young stars – among them a future James Bond (Daniel Craig) and a future Which doctor? (Christopher Eccleston) – became a household name almost overnight.

If you watched it at the time or the last time it was repeated in 2006, you know why it is so revered. If you’ve never seen it, trust me: you’re having an extremely satisfying experience. Our friends in the North, which has not had a DVD release since 2010, has never been released on Blu-ray and is only available to stream on Britbox in the UK, arguably the best TV series of all time. BBC. As far as I’m concerned, there’s nothing “disputable” about it.

These days, when people describe a TV series as “epic,” they’re usually talking about some clunky, CGI-heavy fantasy. Our friends in the North, took a whole year to shoot with the then huge budget of £8 million (€9.2 million), was a truly epic film that was okay, but one based on real history and anchored by Completely believable characters, friends who quickly grow to care, even when their behavior is less than honorable.

For reasons I won’t reveal here, the last scene of the final episode, unless you’re made of granite, you’ll suffocate. It makes the use of Oasis extremely profound Don’t look back in anger, newly released and still fresh. It’s no exaggeration to say that after the final episode aired, viewers who had been glued to the box for nine Monday nights were left feeling down. I know – I’m one of them.

It follows the intertwined lives of four Newcastle friends – Nicky (Eccleston), Geordie (Craig), Mary (Gina McKee) and Terry, known to all as Tosker (Mark Strong) – for 31 years from 1964 until 1995, when they were chosen by social, political, cultural and personal upheavals.

Nicky started out as a young leftist fighter who was involved in Labor politics, but his idealism gradually turned into skepticism. Mary is the girlfriend he pushes out of Tosker’s arms and in a marriage that quickly falls apart, and finds her life defined by two men even as she grows up to be one. .

Tosker, at first introduced as a lovable jerk who aspires to form a band with Nicky and Geordie, discovers he has a business talent that makes him a very good real estate developer. rich, but leads him to indulge in the worst impulses that uncontrolled capitalism encourages.

But the character that quickly became the most popular with the audience that day was Geordie. Charming, yet sensitive and vulnerable, he flees to London to hide from his drunken, abusive father and an impending shotgun wedding. His trajectory over the course of three decades, when he was dazzled by bright light but eventually swallowed up by darkness, was the most orbital of all.

Flannery, developer Our friends in the North from his 1982 stage play for the RSC, which was inspired by Shakespeare’s historical plays, used the bigger picture television gave him to write a national drama – but a film that unfolds through the experiences of four people – taking on the postwar housing crisis; the fall of Labor; police and political corruption; the rise of Thatcherism; miners’ strike; the great hurricane of 1987, and homelessness.

Video of the day

Enriched by a stellar supporting cast, including Malcolm McDowell, Peter Vaughan, Alun Armstrong and David Bradley, this is a masterpiece of a kind we are unlikely to see again.

EPISODES 1-3 IN YEAR OUR FRIENDS IN THE NORTH BBC4 TONIGHT ON, STARTS at 10:10 Best TV series this year 26 years old and starring future James Bond and future Doctor Who

Fry Electronics Team

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