Acclaimed filmmaker Shane Meadows' (Somers Town, This Is England, Dead Man's Shoes) new four-part drama This Is England '86 started filming today. The serial, for Channel 4, marks Meadows' TV debut. Meadows will share directing duties with Tom Harper (The Scouting Book for Boys, Misfits); each will direct two of the four episodes.
Having spent a number of years developing the characters for his multi award-winning hit film, This Is England, Meadows felt that he wanted to revisit them and see what has happened four years on. This Is England '86 will pick up with the lives of the Shaun (Thomas Turgoose) and gang in 1986 - the year Chris de Burgh is at number one, Top Gun is filling cinemas, the World Cup is raging in Mexico and over 3.4 million Brits are unemployed.
As Shaun sits his last school exam, the realisation dawns that adulthood beckons. It's mid-80s England and he's going to have to find his own way in the world. Life has dealt a surprise hand to his friends too and no one is quite where they thought they would be... Woody, Lol, Smell, Gadget... they are back and looking for love, a laugh, a job and something that resembles a future.
Shane Meadows said: "When I finished This Is England I had a wealth of material and unused ideas that I felt very keen to take further - audiences seemed to really respond to the characters we created and out of my long standing relationship with Film4 and Channel 4 the idea for a television serial developed. Not only did I want to take the story of the gang broader and deeper, I also saw in the experiences of the young in 1986 many resonances to now - recession, lack of jobs, sense of the world at a turning point. Whereas the film told part of the story, the TV serial will tell the rest."
Channel 4 Head of Drama, Camilla Campbell, said: "Film4 has a longstanding relationship with Shane, and so I'm thrilled that a filmmaker of his calibre has decided to make his TV debut for Channel 4. I can't wait to see the characters reunited in 1986 and watch their stories unfold over four hours of television. With all it has to say about the way we live now as well as the way we lived then, this is a funny and utterly compelling British drama."
The 4 X 60' serial (formerly entitled We Were Faces) is written by Shane Meadows and Jack Thorne (The Scouting Book for Boys, Skins, Cast Offs) and made by Sheffield based company Warp Films with the company's MD Mark Herbert as series producer and Derrin Schlesinger as producer. Warp has produced all of Shane's films since 2003, with This Is England being their most successful film to date.
This Is England '86 will film over eight weeks with all the key cast returning to reprise their original roles. Screen Yorkshire supported This Is England '86 through its Production Fund and provided locations and crewing support. The four episodes will be broadcast on Channel 4 in the autumn.