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Post Info TOPIC: The "Up" series on British TV...anyone else seen any of it?


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The "Up" series on British TV...anyone else seen any of it?
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The Up series has been around since 1964. It's a series of documentaries that follows the lives of fourteen British children who were all born in 1956. They were first filmed and interviewed in "7-Up" at the age of seven. Another documentary film, ("Seven Plus Seven") profiled them seven years later, and there was a third show ("21-Up") at 21. These films have been such a huge hit, worldwide, that six more have been made...one episode every seven years...thus spanning 56 years of the subjects' lives and experiences, from 1963 to 2019. They were asked questions about religion, family, class, happiness, and how they are feeling psychologically, as well as questions about their concerns for their future.

All the episodes were broadcast on TV in the UK, and originally shown on American public television but were later made into commercial films. The first couple of shows were TV length, less than an hour, but have since been expanded into feature-film length...120 to 150 minutes each. This series has won many awards and a great deal of praise. The fourth episode ("28-Up"--from 1984) made Roger Ebert's list of the ten greatest films of all time.

The fourteen children were picked for the first program in order to represent the different socio-economic backgrounds in Great Britain at that time (the mid-Sixties, just as Beatlemania began), with the assumption that each child's social class predetermined their future lives. This assumption turned out to be valid in most cases, but not all. Working class kids remained working class, but a couple became more middle-class. The well-off kids, of course, stayed well-off, and became richer as they got older. Feminism seems to have been overlooked, and there were only four girls in the study. Additionally, all participants but one are white, and the exception was of mixed-race background. One dropped out completely at 21, and later sued the network in order to have his images completely scrubbed from past and future films. The network told him to get bent. They won...and he lost.

This being the UK and not the US, there was no downward mobility (except for one guy who showed signs of mental illness at an early age, and grew worse during his lifetime), no signs of drug abuse or alcoholism, no suicidal tendencies, no political extremism, and no addiction to technology or constant phone usage. Or maybe they just edited all that shit out.

Lots of kids--and divorces. One guy had five kids, and one of those five kids had five kids of his own. Not gonna tell you which one...you'll have to watch the latest episode and see for yourself.

Several of the participants have chosen to abstain from interviews at certain times in their lives, but except for the one who quit at 21, they all eventually came back to the series.Another one did not appear in 2019. And one of the participants died unexpectedly in 2013, at the age of 57. Another of the participants has throat cancer and will probably not be around much longer. Time is taking its toll...they will all turn 64 in 2020.

I saw the first two episodes in college, and the next three in Chicago, all of them over a period of about twenty years. In the last two decades, I've seen the last four with Lucinda, and kept the streak alive. About fifty years have passed since I saw the earliest episodes. It's all gone by so fast. Too fast.

So, as of yesterday, I am now nine-for-nine. What does it all mean? That time flies, and life is short, and all those other cliches. Imagine having a video of yourself that is edited in such a way that you can literally watch yourself grow up and mature and become middle-aged and marry and divorce and have kids and grandkids and become an old geezer and waste away while your spouse gets pudgy. All that...56 years of it. And maybe there'll be a 70-Up, if they don't start kicking the bucket. So that would be 63 years of life...in my case, it would span the years 1954 to 2017. From getting my first polio shot...to experiencing my first total eclipse. 

Would I want to make something like that? In a New York minute. Would I watch it? Probably until I wore out the tape. It would be like watching that skeleton rot away in George Pal's "The Time Machine." biggrin

I'm thinking of renting all nine and binge-watching them. So, yeah, maybe I AM nuts.wink

Charlie



-- Edited by KidCharlieMane on Monday 27th of January 2020 07:53:27 PM

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RE: The "Up" series on British TV...anyone else seen any of it?
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KidCharlieMane wrote:

It would be like watching that skeleton rot away in George Pal's "The Time Machine." biggrin

 

Charlie

 


I've seen a couple of them, but didn't get hooked.

 

I like the George Pal reference.

 

 



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Resident Curmudgeon

Status: Online
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Date:
The "Up" series on British TV...anyone else seen any of it?
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Yeah, he was one-of-a-kind. That skeleton image has been decaying in my cabeza for sixty years. doh

I don't think I could binge-watch all nine films without getting seriously bummed. blankstare 

Watching them age 56 years (from 7 to 63) in a matter of days? Hell, that would be just too fucking much. disbelief cry no 

Charlie



-- Edited by KidCharlieMane on Monday 3rd of February 2020 12:01:20 AM

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 There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats. -- Albert Schweitzer

 
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