Channel 4 have decided to axe Big Brother in favour of a £20 million revamp of their drama output. British film director Shane Meadows is currently finalising a TV sequel to his award-winning film This is England: a slice of life that focussed on Sean Field (Thomas Turgoose) joining his local skinhead gang.
The original film was set in 1983. The update will consist of four hour-long episodes continuing Sean’s adventures into 1986: Chris de Burgh tops the charts, Top Gun is packing the cinemas, Maradona is cheating and mesmerising in Mexico's World Cup and more than 3 million Brits are unemployed.
Meadows is a brilliant story-teller who features life as it is lived in Britain's less-salubrious corners: those working-class communities ignored by Westminster politicians, reviled by the chattering classes, exploited by narrow-minded fascists. His films may appear downbeat and his characters are invariably downtrodden. But he displays a genuine affection for his subjects, celebrating their culture, their language, their humour, without ever resorting to sentimentality (the extreme violence and pea-brained prejudice that can infest these sub-cultures is never glossed over). Throughout his work he sets out to capture the flickering sparks of humanity in drab surrounds, usually in the streets of his native Nottingham - the neighbourhoods that political parties of all persuasions (but in the context of 80s Britain, especially Thatcher's Tories) have written off.
This is England 86 is out in September and not to be missed.