This Is England '88

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This Is England '88
Genre Drama
Written by Shane Meadows
Jack Thorne
Directed by Shane Meadows
Starring Vicky McClure
Joseph Gilgun
Thomas Turgoose
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 3
Production
Executive producer(s) Libby Durdy
Producer(s) Rebekah Wray-Rogers
Running time 70 minutes (each episode, inc. ads)
Production company(s) Warp Films, Big Arty Productions
Broadcast
Original channel Channel 4
Original run 13 – 15 December 2011 (2011-12-15)
Chronology
Preceded by This Is England '86
Followed by This Is England '90

This Is England '88 is a 2011 British drama miniseries written by Shane Meadows and Jack Thorne. A spin-off from the 2006 film This Is England, it is also a sequel to the 2010 television sequel series This Is England '86, and is set two and a half years afterwards. The series stars Thomas Turgoose as Shaun, Vicky McClure as Lol and Joe Gilgun as Woody.

Plot[edit]

Set during Christmas 1988, Lol is haunted by the devastating events that took place two and a half years before. She and Woody both find themselves struggling to cope with their lives without each other after he leaves the gang. Lol is carrying the burden of her guilt, whilst Woody is trying to build a domestic life with a new girlfriend and a potential promotion at work. Shaun has started drama college and, although still in a relationship with Smell, he has grown close to a girl performing in his Christmas play.[1]

Cast[edit]

Ronald "Meggy" Megford does not appear, having died in 1987.[2][3]

Episodes[edit]

Episode 1[edit]

The story takes place in late December 1988 with the first episode starting on 23 December. Lol is haunted by visions of her dead father Mick – whom she killed in the previous series when he tried to rape her – and is struggling to cope with living alone with her young daughter, Lisa, who is a result of her affair with Milky two and a half years prior. Lol's affair has also led to Woody imposing exile upon himself from the gang, but he has begun to rebuild his life. He has a new girlfriend, Jennifer, who his parents adore, and has been offered a promotion at work. Smell and Shaun are still together, but growing distant. Shaun exercises his creative side on a drama course at college, and grows close to Fay, a girl performing in his Christmas play. Milky is welcomed back into the gang after spending some time away, but after Woody sees them together in the pub, old wounds return to the surface.

Episode 2[edit]

Despite Woody's clear reservations about the responsibilities associated with his promotion, he is seemingly convinced after a dinner out with Jennifer and his boss. Lol turns to a concerned paediatric nurse for help, and finally pays a visit to Combo in prison. She thanks him for having always been there to support her, and apologises for the way she treated him when he returned to the gang five and a half years prior. Shaun takes centre stage for his acting debut, and Smell's suspicions are heightened when she walks in on him and Fay 'rehearsing' a kiss backstage before the performance. Fay has a party at her house to celebrate the success of the play, and Shaun finds her upstairs in her room. The two talk about their growing feelings for each other and despite agreeing not to get any more serious, they find themselves unable to control their desires and end up having sex. Smell goes to Fay's house to apologise to Shaun for her jealousy earlier in the evening, but walks in on Shaun and Fay. Smell angrily breaks up with Shaun and storms out, leaving Shaun devastated.

Episode 3[edit]

As Christmas Eve turns to Christmas Day, Shaun is devastated after Smell caught him cheating on her at the after-show party. Cynthia and Mr. Sandhu (now a surrogate father to Shaun) comfort Shaun and promise him that Smell will eventually forgive him.

Meanwhile, most of the gang is out getting merry until they bump into Woody and Jennifer. It is revealed that Woody didn't find out about Lol and Milky's affair until the birth of their daughter, Lisa. Woody cannot control his rage and attacks Milky, who refuses to fight back. The others break up the fight and lead Milky away, with Woody all the while screaming out about how he loved Milky like a brother. Woody eventually realises he can never love Jennifer as much as he loved Lol, and they agree to end their relationship and remain friends.

Lol seeks solace in a nighttime church service, but it does not ease her pain, and she has visions of Mick again. Feeling unable to cope any longer, and consumed with guilt over Combo's prison sentence, Lol takes an overdose of Paracetamol. Trev and Kellie find her and rush her to the hospital where her stomach is pumped. Trev, after being unable to contact him all night, goes to Woody's house, where he is opening Christmas presents with his parents and Jennifer. Upon hearing the news of Lol's suicide attempt, Woody rushes to the hospital, where he finds Lol's bed empty. He immediately thinks she has died, but Lol's mother and friends (including Milky) inform him that she is alive and doing well. Woody and Milky finally make up, and Woody goes to talk alone with Lol. She tells him about the problems she's been having, and the truth about her father's murder. Visibly shaken, but touched by Combo's sacrifice, Woody tells Lol he still loves her and can't be with anyone else.

The episode ends with Woody and Lol in each other's arms, and then cuts to various members of the gang – including Combo in his prison cell. Shaun is shown having Christmas dinner with his mother and Mr Sandhu (now something of a father figure to Shaun), but still miserable over losing Smell.

Reception[edit]

Writing for The Guardian, Euan Ferguson said that it "was all phenomenal" and "roll on their next story".[4] Paddy Shennan writing for the Liverpool Echo also rated the series, calling it the best drama series of 2011.[5] However, Hugh Montgomery writing for The Independent found all the misery "increasingly irritating".[6] The series won the award for Best Mini Series at the 2012 BAFTA Television Awards, and also led to a Best Actor nomination for Joseph Gilgun (Woody) and a second successive Best Actress nomination for Vicky McClure (Lol).[7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.channel4.com/info/press/programme-information/this-is-england-88
  2. ^ "The character Meggy sadly died in 1987 having a dump #TIEQA @C4Insider" - Mark Herbert via Twitter | https://twitter.com/#!/MarkSherbert/status/147302706749509632
  3. ^ "@SherylMCFC @c4insider @ShadyMeadows That dump by Meggy in 86 series was just a heart attack. The dump that killed him was off camera in 87" - Mark Herbert via Twitter | https://twitter.com/#!/MarkSherbert/status/147426594825322496
  4. ^ Ferguson, Euan (18 December 2011). "Rewind TV: This is England '88". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 2011-12-18. 
  5. ^ Paddy, Shennan. "Paddy Shennan’s TV review: This Is England ‘88 (Channel 4)". Liverpool Echo. Retrieved 2011-12-18. 
  6. ^ Montgomery, Hugh (18 December 2011). "This is England '88". The Independent (London). Retrieved 2011-12-18. 
  7. ^ http://www.bafta.org/television/awards/

External links[edit]