This is England
The latest instalment of Channel 4s This is England is a
fitting return for characters shaped by the dark days of the 1980s,
says Robbie Shaw
Writer and director Shane Meadows kicks off his new series of This is England with a tearful Margaret Thatcher departing Downing Street to the soundtrack of There She Goes by Liverpool indie band, The Las.
But for Lol (Vicky McClure), Woody (Joe Gilgun) and the gang now in their twentieslife doesnt really move on.
The episode begins with a packed but accurate montage of the time.
It picks out the changes in culture, with Wrestlemania, sniff?banging (snorting cheap coke), and new music. But despite all this, life for our characters remains stagnant and empty.
The original 2006 film was set against the backdrop of the Falklands War in 1983. Now Britain is at war againthis time against Saddam Husseins Iraq.
Echos of resistance bubble beneath the surface, with scenes from the Poll Tax Riots and the Strangeways Prison Riot.
But the bitter taste of the 1980s still sticks in the mouth.
Lol and Woody are struggling to bring up their children on a lunch?time supervisors wage.
But both of them insist, We might look like shit but were fuckin happy.
The first episode focuses on the younger characters Shaun (Thomas Turgoose), Gadget (Andrew Ellis) and Milky (Andrew Shim). Theyve got no jobs and nowhere to go.
Theres nothing to do in their dying industrial town except suck a milk-bottle bong and watch daytime TV in a crumbling and now privatised council flat.
The gang reunites at the town hall, getting into the Madchester rave scene.
It was a collective escape from the alienation and rampant individualism of the Thatcher years.
The parts are acted excellently and create a profound natural edginess and gentle humour.
This is England 90 is like a gritty version of Friendsyoung adults struggling to adapt to adulthood.
Except here it isnt their own immaturity that sets them back, but the fact that the government has confiscated their future.
Modern unemployed life seems far more fun than it was in the 1990s. But the hollowness of the characters lives remind us how vicious forced idleness really is.
Watch This is England here
Review from https://socialistworker.co.uk