For years now we have been force fed bland television, programme after programme of 'reality TV' and countless 'lazy' buckets of tripe viewing.
When I heard that Shane Meadows was to head up a series sequel to the film 'This is England' I could see a glimmering spec of light at the end of the tunnel of TV crassness.
And thankfully Meadows delivers in spade loads. I'll be up front and say I've always been a fan of Meadows so this review although as objective as I can make it, will I'm sure be tainted a little with my admiration for Shane's work.
This is England (86) carries on from the film of the same name which largely centred around a lad (Shaun) played by Thomas Turgoose who lost his father in The Falklands War and who is being brought up by his mother. Very basically the film centres on how Shaun makes friends with a group loveable skinheads but then is also influenced by a more menacing right wing skinhead called Combo (played by Stephen Graham).
The television series moves the story on four years and although Turgoose is still one of the main players the story centres around Lol (played by Vicky Mc Clure) and the conflicting relationships she has with both Woody (played by Joe Gilgun) and Milky (Andrew Shim) together with her estranged relation ship with her mother and menacing father played by Kathren Dow Blyton and Johnny Harris respectively.
If your looking for drama you feel you can touch, together with characters and story lines you can empathise with then this has to be on your 'to buy'list. As always Meadows manages to make the ordinary very compelling and mixes both gentle humour and non compromising drama that will effect you emotinally in many ways.
Both Meadows writing and directing seem to bring out the most extrodinary performances from the casts he works with.
This is England 86 is no exception to this rule with wonderful performances from all of the cast particulary Danielle Watson, Vicky Mc Clure and Johnny Harris who have very challenging scenes to play in the series and who deliver them perfectly.
Meadows also seems to know when to hold the camera on a scene or an expression, keeping the dialogue to a minimum and letting the visuals deliver the emotion in certain scenes, Combo returning to his Mum's being a typical example of this.
I purposely haven't given too much away but it would be negligent of Me not to much that there are a number of scenes of a sexual nature that are very disturbing in the series particularly at the end of episode three.
Acknowledgements have also got to go out to co-writer Jack Thorne , co-director Tom Harper and Composer Ludovico Einaudi whose contributions all went towards making a wonderfully realised piece of drama.
I found myself laughing out loud, moved to tears and stunned into silence by 'This is England 86'. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.