Our Friends In The North details
|Starring:||Mark Strong, Christopher Eccleston, Malcolm McDowell, Gina McKee, Malcol, Peter Vaughan, David Bradley, Alun Armstrong, Daniel Craig|
Our Friends In The North - Disc 1
|TBC Disc 1|
Our Friends In The North - Disc 2
|TBC Disc 2|
Our Friends In The North - Disc 3
|TBC Disc 3|
|Run time:||10 hours 23 minutes|
|Rental release:||19 Aug 2002|
Most helpful review
State of the NationBy Mark England from East Sussex , 08 Jul 2004
[Highly rated reviewer]When it was first screened in 1996, Our Friends in the North reflected back the social decay of the sixties and seventies, at a time when a further big change, the rise of New Labour and Tony Blair's seemingly inevitable journey to Downing Street was providing the pivot for mid-nineties, pre-millennial self-examination. Tracing the lives of 4 friends from Newcastle, bonded by often clumsy and socially awkward situations, the epic piece of drama that unfolds remains one of the standout recent works in it's genre.
It's an overtly political piece, but in a way that demonstrates how political changes inform social change. Nicky (Christopher Eccleston) is consumed by involvement in the grubby and incestuos world of sixties north-east Labour politics, dominated by the exotic Austen Donohue. As Donohue's corruption unfolds, and the hopes formed by the election of a Labour government at the end of the first instalment fade away, Nicky turns to radicalism and protest, spending the seventies as a political and social photo-journalist, eventually marrying his childhood companion, Mary - herself bruised by a violent and turbulent first marriage to their mutual friend Tosker, which decays with the passage of the seventies. Geordie meanwhile is drawn into the Soho strip-clubs, run by Malcolm McDowell's grimy, fragile Benny Barrett.
Throughout, their lives are underpinned by their 'friends in the north' - fixers like Eddie Wells, whose life of solid political service to Labour masters is blown away in the storms of 1987, as the political tide reaches the high watermark of Thatcherism. Geordie's escape from the vice dens of Soho is complicated by ongoing investigations into vice and corruption in the Met. Nicky and Mary's marriage collapses under the weight of Nicky's independence and Mary's prospective career as a Blairite new Labour MP. Tosker's business and home are sacrificed at the altar of free market capitalism that he previously worshipped. Returning to the Newcastle in the nineties for the funeral of Nicky's mother, they survey a landscape still scarred by the miner's strike, but hope and optimism about the future. Crossing the Tyne Bridge, they step into the next phase of their lives, as Newcastle itself prepares to cast off it's former image with ambitious social building programmes, and a Labour government prepares to take office in London. The symmetry of their lives is complete.
Taking such a broad sweep across political, social and economic landscapes whilst retaining a cohesive and compelling narrative is a challenge fraught with potential hazards. Our Friends in the North achieves all those aims. It is often icily uncomfortable, but it more than does justice to the themes and the times that it depicts. With some magnificent central performances, it remains both memorable, and essential viewing.
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excellent butBy a customer from Newark , 01 Dec 2008why do you send the last disc out when all it had on it was old reviews and interviews surely you should be told this is the case and then be allowed to choose whether you want the disc or not!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Well worth a lookBy a customer from W.Midlands , 20 Oct 2008A good drama, well sustained, well acted.
Awesome - trulyBy a customer from Bangor , 20 Sep 2008I watched this series when originally aired on the BBC when I was in my early 20s and though (at that age) I had to struggle through a lot of political stuff I remembered it as a great drama. So much so that I shelled out £50 on the DVD when it was released - an impulse buy which I've never regreted because Ive had great mileage out of it! Its like an old book which you can take down off the shelf and revisit every now and again and get more from each time.
Now, older (not much wiser but a bit more aware) the political stuff is much more interesting, if often very tragic - but I think the basis for why this series really works is that the four main characters that the story follows are 'real' people - no one is the bad guy or the good girl, they all have their strengths and their flaws, they all have moments of selfishness or self-pity but they all fight on - their human, engaging and involving.
This series is epic in its scope - it takes on an awful lot and it succeeds on every level. The story is intricate, complex and weaves around involving all of the characters as it develops. The time span covers 4 decades and (apart from the viewer having to suspend belief just a tad to accept Eccelston and McKee as teenagers in the first episode) it manages to give you a real sense of years passing, loved ones aging and lessons (sometimes) learnt. As mentioned the political aspect is heavy in this series involving many issues of the day - the doomed tower blocks of 60s housing, the radical idealists of the 70s, the advance of 80s Thatcherism and of course the advent of 'politcally correct' New Labour - but whats interesting is that they skilfully demonstrate to the viewer how party politics can, and does, affect the individual; how its influence can help mould the course of our own lives - which now, at a time when voting apathy is at its highest, is maybe a necessary phenomenon to see. Social change is also deftly handled here - the sexual revolution, the evolvment of feminisim and the breakdown of the family unit are shown to have consequences that arent always positive (but yet without descending into preachy moralism).
Its also a great opportunity to see four of our now very established actors in the earlier days of their careers (and the early promise they all display is not difficult to see)supported by an array of familiar faces. Particularly worthy is Peter Vaughan as Christopher Eccelston's aging and disillusioned father - incredibly poignant. And with all this excellence about its very easy to forgive the slightly ropey portrayal of 'Julia' - the love of Geordie's life.
In short this is a very worthy, highly involving and emotive story set against our most recent history - its like a 'life and times' of the late 20th century British working classes...and, quite simply, the best thing television has ever produced.
Our friends in the NorthBy MikeNPip (3 reviews) from Glossop , 21 Aug 2008The political and the personal mingle in a drama that travels through Britain's post-war history. Not one for hyperbole really - a brilliant series!!! Highly recommended
Superb SeriesBy a customer from Yorks , 18 Aug 2008Remember seeing this whole series on TV. Just as good seeing it all again. Great cast and superb acting.