PREVIEW: This Is England ‘88

By Jack Deacon

Shane Meadows’ gritty This Is England project takes a festive turn with This is England ’88, a three-part Christmas special catching up with the gang in 1988.

BIFF 2007 Final Day - 'This Is England' cast

Image courtesy of Nat. Media Museum


The 2006 This Is England film fixated on 12-year-old Shaun (Thomas Turgoose) being taken in by a group of skinheads after a fight at school, but the spin-off drama This Is England ’86 distributed the spotlight to other characters.

Lol (Vicky McClure) and Woody (Joe Gilgun) featured prominently in ’86 and look set to do so again in ’88. The latest instalment features the two characters, isolated from each other and often the rest of the gang, trying to cope with their ever-troubling circumstances.

Joe Gilgun, currently winning plaudits for his role in Misfits, said of Woody and Lol’s relationship: “She’s his absolute everything, to the point where he’s got this friggin’ boring job working for this complete moron, Mr. Squires, and he’s got this flat that he’s painting tortoiseshell blue.

“He’s doing everything he can to make her happy but he’s a tit, he just isn’t very intuitive.”

‘Growing up’ is a common theme in ‘88, with Shaun also drifting away from the gang after joining drama school in an attempt to make something of his life. His romance with Smell (Rosamund Hanson) progressed in ’86 but is now on the rocks due to the increasing differences between the two.

Hanson told channel4.com: “Shaun’s got more of a direction now because he’s got college and things, whereas Smell’s still off in her fantasy world of ‘let’s play make-believe and take a bit of whizz’. She’s a bit all over the fair.”

This promises to be a more subtle series than the frequently disturbing ‘86, which was highest rating original drama series launch ever seen on Channel 4, but Thomas Turgoose has revealed that we’ll still feel inclined to “feel sorry for every character in there”.

The first episode will be aired tomorrow (Tuesday) at 10pm on Channel 4, with the second and third episodes each on at 10pm over the following two nights.

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