Brit-dopers, recommend other shows for someone who loved "Our Friends In The North".

I just finished working my way through the DVDs of Our Friends In The North. I thoroughly enjoyed it and the insights it gave into British history. Can ye recommend any other similar serials, series etc. that might appeal? Any British shows you reckon are better than it?

I haven’t seen either but off the top of my head there’s “Boys from the Black Stuff” and the recent (and very depressing, apparently) “Red Riding”. Pretty much anything by Ken Loach will cover some of the same ground, and some of Mike Leigh’s work does the same. “Billy Elliot” is set in the north east of England and covers the miners’ strike of the 1980s. I’m sure I’ll think of others.


You might like the first series of “Auf Wiedersehen Pet”, which is about labourers from NE England who had to go to West Germany for work in the early 1980s. From the other end of the social spectrum (and England), the novel and TV series “The Line of Beauty” examine the politicians 1980s, as well as the sexual politics.

Seconding G. Ordoreida’s suggestions for Boys From the Blackstuff and Auf Wiedersehen Pet.

Shameless is fantastic. Very different from the above but is set in Manchester so at least it’s in keeping with the north of England theme. Don’t there’s anything quite like it on American TV.

I don’t live in America, I’m in Ireland so fairly familiar with UK telly in general. I love Shameless although I haven’t watched it regularly in a few years.

They’ve just started rerunning the first series of Auf Wiedersehen Pet on ITV4, and I thought I’d watch a bit of it for old time’s sake. I got drawn right back in, it’s just as good as I remembered. It’s a comedy, by the way, not a straight drama.

Yeah, but I remember about 10 years ago Channel 4 repeated it. I saw it was on one night and thought, ‘great, an hour of quality comedy drama, great writing, great acting and lots of laughs’. But when I sat down to watch it (it was the episode where Neville has to hide the tattoo from his wife) I just got so depressed I ended up switching it off. Later that week I told this to a mate who said he’d had pretty much the same reaction.

By the way An Gadai, were any of our suggestions useful to you?

I’m gonna check out Boys From The Black Stuff thanks. Keep the recommendations coming. :slight_smile:

Our Friends in the North is one of my all time favourite tv series, and I’m not sure that you’ll find anything quite like it, of course, and certainly very little better. I hated Red Riding, I think I made it through about 1 1/2 episodes before giving up completely - I didn’t find it depressing particularly, just very very dull.

I’d also recommend Boys from the Blackstuff, but more than that, one of Bleasdale’s slighly less well known series, GBH. It stars Robert Lindsay as a small city politician with some serious mental issues and Michael Palin as a headteacher with some, well, serious mental issues. Just brilliant - very evocative (as most of Alan Bleasdale’s stuff seems to be) of the North of England and of its time. The performances are mostly terrific, it’s really well written and it’s not half as depressing as Blackstuff can be.

I’d also maybe look at Edge of Darkness - the tone is quite different, but it’s the same really high quality drama. Also, if you haven’t seen House of Cards or, slightly less so, its sequel To Play the King I’d recommend those two - they are about the machinations of Westminster, but they have a similar strong sense of time and place that I got from OFITN.

A couple of novels I’ve got from the library recently and enjoyed, both set in Newcastle / Gateshead: “The North of England Home Service” by Gordon Burn, and “The Bonny Lad” by Jonathan Tulloch. The first is a lot less depressing than the second, though I think the ending of the second might have actually been more optimistic.

You might like the TV adaptation of Jonathan Coe’s The Rotter’s Club, set in 70’s Birmingham. It’s something of a coming of age story centering around a group of schoolboys and their families against a background of union troubles and bombings. Less grim than that sounds.

Yes, that’s good, I was also going to recommend Jonathan Coe’s novel What a Carve Up! which has the politics and business of the 50s, 60s 70s and 80s as its main theme.

On a side note, Troy Kennedy Martin, the writer of Edge of Darkness, died this week. He also wrote the screenplay for the original Italian Job and many scripts for Z-Cars

If you liked OFITN, I really recommend you watch Clocking Off, an excellent drama featuring the interwoven stories of workers at a Manchester textiles factory. Very well written by Paul Abbott who is mentioned elsewhere inthe thread for his work on Shameless. Also features fantastic acting throughout.

Alan Bleasdale has been mentioned too, so I’ll throw in his brilliant G.B.H. Amongst other things, a look at corrupt local and national politics from the point of view of Michael Murray, fictional shady leader of the Liverpool City Council in the 1980s. Very obviously to anyone watching at the time inspired by the real life figure of Derek Hatton. Still, G.B.H has a LOT more going for it than that and amongst other things is a poignant exploration of how early experiences shape our adulthood. Plus, it is often funny- amongst his many other talents, Bleasdale can do convincing comedy without losing realism. And finally, it contains an absolute barnstorming performance in the lead role from Robert Lindsay.

The Lakes - Jimmy McGovern

In fact, pretty much anything by Jimmy McGovern

Including The Street

I finally got around to seeing Boys From The Black Stuff. It’s really good, poignant and hilarious in parts.

It’s great. In the spirit of another thread, I wonder how Yosser Hughes and King Theoden would have got on?

I can’t think of anything quite as good as “Our Friends in the North”, but perhaps The Beiderbecke Affair?

I ***just ***finished watching ‘Our Friends in the North’ this week (I loves my region zero DVD player, I does).

I was blown away by it. I bought it originally because Christopher Eccleston was in it and I am a blithering fangirl where he’s concerned. :smiley:

Half a disc in, I started watching it for what it was and not just because he was in it. Why the hell can’t American television create shows like that???

Unfortunately Amazon doesn’t have ‘Clocking Off.’ At the moment, it’s not available. :frowning:

For an interesting, thought-provoking take on the role of religion in the 21st century, I highly recommend ‘The Second Coming,’ also starring CE. I watched it on youtube some time ago and finally bought it when I ordered the already-mentioned DVDs.