This Life

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This Life
Thislife.jpg
Series logo
Format Drama
Created by Amy Jenkins
Starring Amita Dhiri
Jack Davenport
Jason Hughes
Andrew Lincoln
Daniela Nardini
Ramon Tikaram
Luisa Bradshaw-White
Steve John Shepherd
Natasha Little
David Mallinson
Juliet Cowan
Sacha Craise
Cyril Nri
Country of origin United Kingdom
No. of series 2
No. of episodes 33 (List of episodes)
Production
Running time 50 minutes
Broadcast
Original channel BBC Two
Original run 18 March 1996 (1996-03-18) – 7 August 1997 (1997-08-07)
External links
Website

This Life is a BBC television drama that was produced by World Productions and screened on BBC Two. Two series were broadcast in 1996 and 1997 and a reunion special in 2007.[1] The series centres on the life of five twentysomething law graduates embarking upon their careers while sharing a house in south London.[2][3]

It is considered to be the definitive statement on twentysomething life in mid-90s 'Cool Britannia' London and is notable for its Britpop soundtrack and pushing of sex and drugs broadcasting boundaries of the time. Its use of shaky handheld cameras and high background noise pioneered the fake documentary format to mainstream television, influencing later series such as The Office and Modern Family, as well as the 2000s wave of reality TV.

Production[edit]

The series was created by, and some episodes written by, Amy Jenkins. Other writers contributed scripts, including Joe Ahearne (who also directed some episodes — the only person to do both on the series), Ian Iqbal Rashid, Amelia Bullmore and Matthew Graham. Tony Garnett was the executive producer and Jane Fallon worked as a producer on both series.

When the first series was screened it was a modest critical success, rather than being a ratings 'hit'. Nevertheless, the original production agreement secured a second series. In the lead-up to the broadcast of the second series, the entire first series was repeated, helping to generate a critical 'buzz' around the programme, to the point that millions of viewers were waiting to discover the ultimate resolutions to the various plot-lines and generating front-page newspaper coverage.

Cast and characters[edit]

Guest cast[edit]

  • The Office and Sherlock star Martin Freeman appeared early in the second series, pictured stealing money from Milly and Egg's bedroom after a party, and accidentally drinking Egg's urine from a can, believing it to be beer.
  • Ralph Ineson, also from The Office, featured in an early episode as a client of Milly.
  • EastEnders actor Nitin Ganatra appeared in an episode of the second series playing a prospective housemate who manages to upset Milly.
  • Another later well-known actor appearing early in the second series is Martin Hancock, who went on to star in Coronation Street as Spider, followed by Holby City as Reg Lund.
  • Clare Clifford played lesbian lawyer Sarah Newly who propositions Anna, in five episodes.
  • Stuart Organ, best known as Mr Robson in Grange Hill, appeared as a flasher in the first series.

Episodes[edit]

Series one (1996)[edit]

This Life is based around life in a London law firm and barristers' chambers of a group of about twenty trainee solicitors and pupil barristers, but essentially it is a character-driven drama.

Egg (Andrew Lincoln) and Milly (Amita Dhiri) have been dating since they were at university together but their career choices create tension between them. Conscientious Milly is ambitious, spending a lot of time working with her older boss Mr O'Donnell. Egg suffers a crisis of dissatisfaction with a career in law, and soon resigns from the firm.

Anna (Daniela Nardini) and Miles (Jack Davenport) had a brief fling at university and Anna is fixated on the indifferent Miles. Their love-hate relationship makes their work and home life frequently tense.

The other house-mate, Warren (Jason Hughes), is an out gay man. He spends some time dealing with issues around his sexuality, especially in relation to "coming out" to friends and family. In an unusual (at the time) plot device he is frequently seen discussing his feelings with a therapist (Gillian McCutcheon) who is heard and only rarely seen by the viewer.

Miles appears, at times, to dislike Warren, and subjects him to occasional homophobic abuse when angered. Miles's manipulative girlfriend, the drug addicted and bulimic Delilah (Charlotte Bicknell), moves in with him. This results in conflict in the house. When Miles, who has not been practising safe sex with Delilah, discovers that she is still sleeping with her heroin addict ex, Truelove, he has an HIV scare. Milly clashes with Egg over his perceived lack of ambition, and becomes attracted to O'Donnell.

Count episode title Writer Director Original airdate
1 (1x1) "Coming Together" Amy Jenkins Sam Miller 18 March 1996 (1996-03-18)

Three 20-something lawyers, Miles, Milly and her boyfriend Egg, sharing a house in London are looking for two new lodgers. Anna, a former one-night-stand of Miles arrives for an interview at his firm. She and Milly are old friends and Anna moves in, much to Miles' annoyance, since he has already unsuccessfully attempted to reignite their relationship. At Milly's firm, both Egg and another newly-qualified student, Warren are hired.

Guest Cast:Su Elliott (Maggie), Charles Harrison (Osteopath), Susan Tordoff (Personnel Officer)
2 (1x2) "Happy Families" Amy Jenkins Sam Miller 25 March 1996 (1996-03-25)

Working with Warren is beginning to irritate Egg, and matters aren't helped when the others offer Warren the remaining room in the house. Miles falls for a client of Anna's; Delilah – an out of work model, also a drug addict. Warren is panicked when his cousin Kira begins to work at the firm, due to his fear of his family discovering that he is gay.

Guest cast: Charlotte Bicknell (Delilah), Keith-Lee Castle (Truelove), Sacha Craise (Kelly), Nicholas Sidi (Solicitor)
3 (1x3) "Living Dangerously" Amy Jenkins Sam Miller 1 April 1996 (1996-04-01)

Anna is annoyed that Miles has moved Delilah into the house, although Miles accuses Anna of jealousy. Egg gets friendly with a client who has cancer but is devastated when he dies. Warren realises Delilah is bulimic and tries to help by lending her money, which she then spends on drugs. The house is later burgled, with the others pointing the finger at her.

Guest Cast: Charlotte Bicknell (Delilah), Keith-Lee Castle (Truelove), Simon Kunz (McCleary), Tara Williams (Doorgirl)
4 (1x4) "Sex, Lies and Muesli Yoghurt" Richard Zajdlic Audrey Cooke 8 April 1996 (1996-04-08)

Delilah continues to cause upset in the house, particularly with Warren and Anna. Egg meanwhile is becoming increasingly frustrated with his job in comparison to Warren who is lapping it up. Delilah moves out, much to Anna's glee and Miles' annoyance. Warren informs Miles that he should take an HIV test due to having had unprotected sex with Delilah, while she was also sleeping with her drug-addicted boyfriend.

Guest Cast: Charlotte Bicknell (Delilah), Keith-Lee Castle (Truelove), Sacha Craise (Kelly) Ralph Ineson (Jessop)
5 (1x5) "Fantasy Football" Richard Zajdlic Audrey Cooke 15 April 1996 (1996-04-15)

Increasingly frustrated with work, Egg loses his sex drive. Miles frets about the possibility that he may be HIV positive and along with Warren tracks Delilah down in order for her to take a test. Anna, worried about her lack of assignments, attempts to network at a party to little success. Delilah's results prove negative, while after some soul searching, Egg quits his job at the firm.

Guest Cast: Charlotte Bicknell (Delilah), Christopher Bramwell (Mr. Webb), Keith-Lee Castle (Truelove), Clare Clifford (Sarah Newley), Michael Elwyn (Montgomery), Maria McErlane (Mrs. Webb)
6 (1x6) "Family Outing" Patrick Wilde Audrey Cooke 22 April 1996 (1996-04-22)

Concerned for Milly and Egg, Anna and Warren organise a special dinner for them. Working on a big case, Miles reluctantly enlists his father for help to no avail. Much to Warren's initial worry, Kira discovers that he is gay, but promises not to tell their family. Later, Warren's brother Dale visits.

Guest Cast: Richard Cant (Phil), Paul Cottingham (Man in Park), Michael Elwyn (Montgomery), Mark Lewis Jones (Dale)
7 (1x7) "Brief Encounter" Patrick Wilde Audrey Cooke 29 April 1996 (1996-04-29)

In attempt to bond, Miles' father helps him with his case. With Milly concerned about Egg's lack of ambition, he announces that he's going to write a novel. Warren meets up with Dale for a drink, but declines to tell him that he's gay. Anna has a one-night stand with colleague Jo, which he mistakenly believes is the beginning of a relationship.

Guest Cast: Michael Elwyn (Montgomery), Mark Lewis Jones (Dale), Nicholas Palliser (Rattigan)
8 (1x8) "Cheap Thrills" Matthew Graham Nigel Douglas 6 May 1996 (1996-05-06)

Egg starts a job in telesales, but gets fired within the same day. Anna, in attempt for work, socialises at her boss's birthday party. She manages to clear things with Jo, who had been very hostile towards her. Egg's father, Jerry arrives at the house with the news that he has split from his wife.

Guest Cast: Chris Crooks (Muldoon), Paul Copley (Jerry)
9 (1x9) "Just Sex" Matthew Graham Nigel Douglas 13 May 1996 (1996-05-13)

Warren meets up with a motorcycle courier, Ferdy and has sex with him. Jerry tells Egg that he's written a novel which has received interest, Egg meanwhile goes to the job centre in an attempt to find work. Milly is working late again, but fails to notice that her boss is paying her much interest. Warren, having immediately fallen in love is shocked when Ferdy tells him that he's straight and is engaged to be married. Warren finally tells Dale that he's gay.

Guest Cast: Paul Copley (Jerry), Mark Lewis Jones (Dale), Charlotte Longfield (Woman at Job Centre), Ramon Tikaram (Ferdy)
10 (1x10) "Father Figure" Amy Jenkins Nigel Douglas 20 May 1996 (1996-05-20)

As Milly and O'Donnell are coming back from a meeting, a man on roller skates knocks Milly over. O'Donnell punches him and Milly subsequently begins to form a crush. Egg becomes frustrated by his lack of work and gets annoyed with his father who is still staying in the house. Miles defends a client who has been charged with indecent exposure. Anna believes the man to be innocent until he confronts her in the toilet and exposes himself. Later, after talking Anna and Jerry end up in bed together. Milly goes out to dinner with O'Donnell, but resists the temptation of taking it further.

Guest Cast: Paul Copley (Jerry), Stuart Organ (Monk), Saul Reichlin (Pemberton)
11 (1x11) "Let's Get It On" Amy Jenkins Nigel Douglas 3 June 1996 (1996-06-03)

Milly is confused by her feelings about O'Donnell as Egg becomes suspicious. Together they see a counsellor. Anna continues her relationship with Jerry and they go out on a drug-fuelled night together. The following day Anna is shocked to discover that her client is the drug dealer from the night before. Warren talks to Dale, but Dale refuses to accept that Warren is gay. Jerry throws a party at the house to celebrate that his book is to be published. Milly and Egg make up, while Anna begins to reconsider her feelings for Miles.

Guest Cast: Paul Copley (Jerry), Mark Lewis Jones (Dale), Roger McClennahan (Roy)

Series two (1997)[edit]

This Life Series 2 main cast

During the second series, storylines were expanded to include other connected characters. These included Ferdy (Ramon Tikaram) - Warren's boyfriend briefly, Rachel (Natasha Little) - new junior trainee at Milly's law firm and Francesca - Miles's girlfriend/fiancee - whilst previously secondary-characters Jo (Steve John Shepherd) and Warren's cousin, Kira (Luisa Bradshaw-White) feature more heavily as they embarked upon a relationship. Moore, Spencer, Wright Receptionist Kelly (Sacha Craise) also became much more prominent and a close ally of Kira. Ferdy was a largely improvised, complex (and sometimes unwilling) bisexual character and was seen as a replacement for Warren when Jason Hughes decided to leave the show (he did return for the final scene). Finding a relationship with Anna impossible, Miles began a relationship with Francesca, a woman nearly a decade older than he was. Miles proposed to Francesca, but still harboured feelings for Anna.

Rachel had a long-running passive-aggressive feud with Milly, although on the surface the pair were able to work together without mention of their mutual dislike. Milly's dislike of Rachel was very strong, viewing her as a threat to her relationship with O'Donnell, and disliking her apparently perfect demeanour. Milly confided in Anna that she found Rachel almost suffocatingly "nice". The tension between the two went unresolved throughout the second series, culminating in the final scene, in the episode "Apocalypse Wow!". At Miles and Francesca's wedding reception, after Milly learns that Rachel has told Egg of her affair with O'Donnell, Milly punches Rachel in the face.

Count episode Title Writer Director Original airdate
12 (2x1) "Last Tango in Southwark" Richard Zajdlic Sallie Aprahamian 17 March 1997 (1997-03-17)

Miles and Anna have spent the night together after the party. Warren nurses a hangover as a new trainee, Rachel arrives at the office. Jerry decides to move out and Egg wishes him the best of luck. Miles and Anna agree to meet for a drink to discuss their relationship, but Anna is furious when she finds him talking to another woman.

Guest Cast: Paul Copley (Jerry), Martin Freeman (Stuart), Mike Hayward (Leonard Ryder), Georgia Reece (Mrs. Reid)
13 (2x2) "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?" Richard Zajdlic Sallie Aprahamian 24 March 1997 (1997-03-24)

Anna is up against Miles in a court case. Anna changes her plea without telling Miles and wins the case, much to his annoyance. Kira is angry that Kelly has returned to work and taken her job back as receptionist. Warren is surprised when Ferdy calls to the house. He tells him that the wedding never took place due to his fiancée finding out that he was bisexual. Warren allows him to stay at the house for a while.

Guest Cast: Michael Begley (Terry Cole), Martin Hancock (Philip Becks), Julia Worsley (Tania Johnson)
14 (2x3) "The Bi Who Came in From the Cold" Matthew Graham Sallie Aprahamian 31 March 1997 (1997-03-31)

The housemates come to an agreement that Egg can cook for them by paying him for groceries each week. Egg loses the money at the bookmakers and claims that he was mugged. Ferdy is still upset at having split from his fiancée, although Warren is adamant that he is gay. Anna, now up for tenancy at her law firm, has not impressed the other barristers with her underhand tactics against Miles. Egg applies for a job as a Chef.

Guest Cast: James Bowers (Mick), Richard Dixon (Angus)
15 (2x4) "How to Get in Bed by Advertising" Matthew Graham Dominic Lees 7 April 1997 (1997-04-07)

Miles has placed a lonely hearts advert in a magazine and sets himself up on some dates – with limited success. Egg is enjoying his new job at the café working with a girl called Nicki. Warren is frustrated with Ferdy staying at the house as Ferdy is showing no interest in him. To relieve his anguish he goes to the local park to pick up a man, but is arrested by the police.

Guest Cast: Steph Bramwell (Mrs. Cochrane), Andrew Charleson (Dougie), Liz Izen (Cora), Janine Wood (Judy)
16 (2x5) "Small Town Boyo" Mark Davies Markham Dominic Lees 14 April 1997 (1997-04-14)

Warren tells O'Donnell what has happened, but as a reporter shows up at the office, O'Donnell becomes uneasy about the bad publicity. Anna assists Miles on a case and helps him to win. With Warren's story in the newspaper O'Donnell asks him to consider handing in his resignation. When Warren refuses, O'Donnell is forced to sack him.

Guest Cast: Benedict Sandiford (Brian), Danielle Tarento (Mia), Paul Medford (Paul)
17 (2x6) "Unusual Suspect" Mark Davies Markham Dominic Lees 21 April 1997 (1997-04-21)

Warren attends a line-up and is being defended by Milly. Kira has asked Jo out, but she has a plan to play hard to get. Egg is paranoid that Nicki fancies him and feels awkward when they go out for a drink together until she tells him that he's not her type. O'Donnell tells Milly that she must drop Warren's case. Milly passes it onto Anna, who gets him off with a small fine.

Guest Cast: Mark Lewis Jones (Dale), Rod Arthur (Hughie Slater), Steph Bramwell (Mrs. Cochrane), Colin MacLachlan (I.D. Inspector), Michael Moreland (Police Officer), Christopher Staines (Dex)
18 (2x7) "He's Leaving Home" Joe Ahearne Joy Perino 28 April 1997 (1997-04-28)

Warren has decided to leave and travel the world – beginning with Australia. Egg discovers that Nicki has a five year old son. The others begin to discuss who to rent Warren's room out to. Milly is angered when Rachel is suggested, due to her increasing dislike of her co-worker. Dale calls to see Warren, but they are unable to reconcile their differences. Later, a farewell party is thrown for Warren before he sets off on his travels the following morning.

Guest Cast: Steph Bramwell (Mrs. Cochrane), Mark Lewis Jones (Dale), Paul Medford (Paul)
19 (2x8) "Room With a Queue" Ian Iqbal Rashid Joy Perino 8 May 1997 (1997-05-08)

An advert is placed in the local newspaper for a new housemate. A number of people are interviewed but none of them are deemed suitable. Miles calls Rachel to tell her to move in, but when Milly finds out she is annoyed and tells Ferdy he can have the room. Kira and Jo go out on a date, and Kira's hard to get act is making Jo eager for more.

Guest Cast: Nitin Chandra Ganatra (Slim), Jackie Stirling (Muriel)
20 (2x9) "Men Behaving Sadly" Ian Iqbal Rashid Joy Perino 15 May 1997 (1997-05-15)

Now that Rachel has been told that she hasn't got the room, she tries to avoid Miles' advances. Egg begins to become more involved with his work, working longer hours. He has introduced Milly to Nicki and has met her son. Ferdy meets up with his ex-fiancée and asks if he can call round to collect his belongings. He is shocked when he discovers that she is now living with an ex-co-worker of his. Ferdy leaves the flat in rage and smashes up the man's car.

Guest Cast: Clare Clifford (Sarah Newley), Danny Midwinter (Seb), Greg Prentice (George), Danielle Tarento (Mia), Richard Zajdlic (Man)
21 (2x10) "When the Dope Comes In" Amelia Bullmore Harry Bradbeer 22 May 1997 (1997-05-22)

O'Donnell asks Milly to go to Paris with him on a Conference. Milly agonises over her decision, but ultimately declines. Ferdy gets some hashish and while he's out of the house, the Police call to question him about the smashing-up of the car. Miles and Egg, who is stoned, are left to deal with them. On returning, Ferdy lies and gives Miles and Egg as alibis, much to Miles' fury.

Guest Cast: Alan Stocks (Police Officer)
22 (2x11) "She's Gotta Get It" Amelia Bullmore Harry Bradbeer 29 May 1997 (1997-05-29)

Miles is suspicious about lesbian solicitor Sarah Newley who is sending a lot of work Anna's way. Jo and Kira finally cement their relationship by having sex. Ferdy goes out clubbing with the effeminate Paul, but decides it is not his scene. Egg meets up with his father, who tells him that he's getting back with his mother. The vote for Anna's tenancy takes place and after an anguished wait, she's told that she has it. The housemates celebrate, unaware that Miles voted against her.

Guest Cast: Paul Copley (Jerry), Michael Elwyn (Montgomery), Clare Clifford (Sarah), Paul Medford (Paul), Helene Kvale (Caroline)
23 (2x12) "The Plumber Always Rings Twice" Eirene Houston Harry Bradbeer 5 June 1997 (1997-06-05)

With O'Donnell and Rachel back from Paris, Milly is finding herself jealous. A handyman, Lenny calls round to fix the broken boiler in the house. Ferdy falls for him and they end up in bed together. Miles' father calls round regarding his impending wedding, but Miles refuses to go until Anna talks him round.

Guest Cast: Tony Curran (Lenny), Steph Bramwell (Mrs. Cochrane), Michael Elwin (Montgomery), Gregg Prentice (George)
24 (2x13) "Wish You Were Queer" Annie Caulfield Sallie Aprahamian 12 June 1997 (1997-06-12)

Miles has met a woman and embarked on a relationship. Anna discovers that Miles voted against her in the tenancy and is angry with him. Sarah Newley congratulates Anna on her tenancy and admits she has fallen in love with her. Anna kisses her, but can't bring herself to go any further. Egg throws a themed Mexican night in the café.

Guest Cast: Clare Clifford (Sarah)
25 (2x14) "Who's That Girl?" Annie Caulfield Sallie Aprahamian 19 June 1997 (1997-06-19)

Miles introduces the others to his girlfriend, Francesca. Kira and Jo have sex, but Jo is panicked after his condom comes off. Milly's dislike of Rachel is intensifying and has a row with her in the office. The housemates find out about Ferdy and Lenny's relationship. Meanwhile, Miles announces his engagement.

Guest Cast: Tony Curran (Lenny), Rachel Fielding (Francesca)
26 (2x15) "From Here to Maternity" Jimmy Gardner Sallie Aprahamian 26 June 1997 (1997-06-26)

Jo continues to fret that Kira may be pregnant. Anna is given an important case, working alongside an experienced colleague. The owner of the café tells Egg and Nicki that she's putting it up for sale. Egg looks into buying the lease and persuades Miles' father to be his guarantor. Milly finally gives into her feelings and sleeps with O'Donnell. Anna receives news that her mother has died, but she shows little grief.

Guest Cast: Tony Curran (Lenny)
27 (2x16) "One Bedding and a Funeral" Jimmy Gardner Joe Ahearne 3 July 1997 (1997-07-03)

Egg's teenage brother Nat arrives for a holiday. Anna is ready to go to her mother's funeral, but decides not to bother. Kira gets her period, much to Jo's relief that she's not pregnant, but she breaks off the relationship. Her colleague Kelly subsequently tries to chat him up, but after she is turned down, she sleeps with Nat.

Guest Cast: Damian Zuk (Nat)
28 (2x17) "The Secret of My Excess" William Gaminara Joe Ahearne 10 July 1997 (1997-07-10)

After a drunken night, Anna wakes up late for work and an important meeting with Graham. She attempts to get herself together by taking cocaine, but is later found out by Graham. With her career in jeapordy she is taken off the case. She later confides in Miles and admits she misses her mother. They end up sleeping together, despite Francesca being in Miles' bed upstairs. Miles goes in to Chambers and makes a plea for Anna's behaviour saying that she is still grieving. Egg is excited about the opening of the café, while Milly obsesses about her relationship with O'Donnell.

Guest Cast: Rachel Fielding (Francesca), Lauretta Gavin (Girl)
29 (2x18) "Diet Hard" William Gaminara Joe Ahearne 17 July 1997 (1997-07-17)

The café opens to little success, leaving Egg deflated. Milly starts to see a counsellor about her troubles. As a condition to keeping her job, Anna is instructed to attend Alcoholics Anonymous, but she finds it of little help. Ferdy is unsettled by Lenny's plan of introducing him to his family and ends up sleeping with a woman. The next morning Miles informs her of his sexual orientation and Ferdy thumps him.

Guest Cast: Tony Curran (Lenny), Daisy Beaumont (Gina), Kathleen McGoldrick (Lizzie)
30 (2x19) "Milly Liar" Joe Ahearne Morag Fullarton 24 July 1997 (1997-07-24)

Miles and Graham win the case on the back of the work Anna had done. She declines to celebrate with them. Ferdy and Lenny make up as do Ferdy and Miles. Milly's relationship with O'Donnell continues, but becomes ever more complicated. Anna finds out and during an argument, tells Milly that she doesn't approve because of Egg.

Guest Cast: Tony Curran (Lenny), Rachel Fielding (Francesca)
31 (2x20) "Secrets and Wives" Richard Zajdlic Morag Fullarton 31 July 1997 (1997-07-31)

Milly is surprised when O'Donnell's wife shows up at the office, but O'Donnell reassures her that they have separated. Anna continues to give Milly the cold shoulder. Miles' stag party comes around and he celebrates with the housemates, including Anna. Later, he tells Anna that he loves her and is willing to call off the wedding if she wants. Spying on O'Donnell, Milly sees that his marital relationship is far from over.

Guest Cast: Tony Curran (Lenny), Rachel Fielding (Francesca)
32 (2x21) "Apocalypse Wow!" Richard Zajdlic Morag Fullarton 7 August 1997 (1997-08-07)

Milly is furious that O'Donnell has lied to her and ends their relationship. She makes up with Anna, who confides in her about Miles. Jo invites Kira to the wedding and she accepts. The wedding day arrives and as Anna refuses to reveal to Miles that she does indeed love him, it goes ahead. Egg asks Milly to marry him and she happily accepts. At the reception Rachel enquires to Milly about the now-spare room. Milly tells her that she has never liked her and that she will not be moving in. Rachel subsequently tells Egg about Milly and O'Donnell's affair. Egg is devastated and in fury breaks up with Milly. Ferdy has invited Lenny to the wedding and he tells him that he loves him. Milly realises that Rachel has spilled the beans and walks up to her and whacks her across the face in front of everyone. Unknown to everyone, the whole scene is being witnessed by a late arrival – Warren.

Guest Cast: Tony Curran (Lenny), Michael Elwyn (Montgomery), Rachel Fielding (Francesca)

Legacy[edit]

The second series ended with a close-up of an advert for the house, and the original intention was to re-cast with new characters. The controversial stage writer Mark Ravenhill was involved in drafting storylines and early scripts for a third series, but the plans were aborted, and the decision was taken to end the programme "on a high". Series one and two are available on DVD from BBC Worldwide, as a box set and as two individual series volumes.

In 2001, NBC Television broadcast a loosely adapted U.S. remake titled First Years. It attracted scathing reviews and low ratings, and vanished soon after.

The young production team behind This Life went on to further success:

This Life + 10[edit]

In 2006, the BBC reconvened the original cast for a special one-off 80-minute special, looking at what had happened to the lead characters in the intervening ten years.[5] The episode begins with the original five housemates reuniting for Ferdy's funeral. Milly and Egg are married, but Miles is divorced from Francesca and has a new Vietnamese wife, Me Linh. The circumstances of both Ferdy's death and Miles' divorce are not revealed.

This new episode was entitled + 10 onscreen, and kept the original title sequence and programme title This Life. It was screened on 2 January 2007, and was a co-production between BBC Wales and the original producers World Productions. This Life + 10 was written by Jenkins, directed by Ahearne and produced by Garnett. It gained 3.5 million viewers, with a 14% audience share.[6]

# Title Writer Director Airdate
33 "+ 10" Amy Jenkins Joe Ahearne 2 January 2007 (2007-01-02)

The group meet again at Ferdy's funeral. Egg, now a successful author, is being filmed by a documentary-maker who is eager to meet the people behind the inspirations for Egg's novel (a fictionalised account of life in Benjamin Street). She suggests that the group should stage a reunion, which she will film. The reunion is arranged at Miles's mansion in Sussex, where he lives with his Vietnamese second wife Me Linh. Anna, still a barrister, visits a sperm bank, but is told there is a five-year waiting list. Milly and Egg's relationship survived her affair with O'Donnell and they now have a three-year-old son called Oscar. Milly, now a full-time mother, is not entirely happy with the sacrifice of her career for motherhood, and faces hostility from Anna. Warren, boasting of his "life-affirming" therapy venture is secretly battling depression. Me Linh leaves Miles and it becomes apparent that his business has failed as the bailiffs move in. Milly tells Egg that she wants to break up with him, but her feelings change when Egg decides to abandon the documentary and quits his career as a writer. Warren agrees to have a baby with Anna, and a penniless Miles decides to go travelling.

Guest Cast: Jodie Whittaker (Clare), Linh Dan Pham (Me-Linh), Deborah Findlay (Doctor), Nick Sampson (Priest), Mark Lawson (Interviewer), James Greene (Judge), Joanne McQuinn (Audience Member), Nicholas Beveney (Bailiff), Shakeel Orr-Deen (Oscar), Stephen Humby (Passer By)

Broadcasts[edit]

The original run of the first series in 1996 was neither a critical nor a ratings success, with interest in the show so apathetic that it could barely even come under the term 'a cult success'. It was only with the commencement of a repeat run of the first series, beginning 2 January 1997, and then every Wednesday evening from 3 January in a post-Newsnight slot that the show really began to attract serious, but still relatively moderate, viewer attention. This rerun ran smoothly into the start of the new second series, from Monday 17 March 1997, restored to its peak-time slot, by which time the series was attracting praise as a cult hit. By the time the second series ended, the show was attracting strong audience figures for a BBC Two show of around four million, and the show became a national talking point, regularly making headlines in both tabloid and broadsheet newspapers, although this is perhaps unsurprising given that the show had been on the air every week from the beginning of January to mid-August 1997. Both of the two series were then repeated late-night in the summer of 2000 from 12 June to 2 August (each episode was shown twice during the first run). The lack of repeats was mainly due to the high VHS sales during the late nineties. Another screening of the first series only was shown on Sunday evenings between 30 March and 13 July 2003. As a run in to the reunion the BBC repeated every episode, two a night, Monday to Thursday, starting 6 November 2006, on BBC Two.

As of March 2013, the entire series including This Life +10 and That Life (A short documentary about the reunion special) has been made available via Virgin On Demand.

Locations[edit]

  • The opening scenes show the house as being on Benjamin Street, which is in EC1 in Clerkenwell. However, the building is actually Anchor Terrace, a terraced house on Southwark Bridge Road. As the characters are often seen commuting from South London it is unclear why the Benjamin Street sign was filmed. The house has since been converted into luxury flats.
  • The law firm's offices were filmed on High Holborn near the junction with Chancery Lane. The waiting room in which Egg's first interview takes place is in Norwich Street at the City law firm Macfarlanes. The location for external shots of Moore Spencer Wright are at the bottom end of Borough High Street, now the FTC Kaplan offices.
  • The barrister's chambers external shots were filmed outside Verulam Buildings on Gray's Inn Road, part of Gray's Inn; the interior scenes were filmed in the Anchor Terrace house (see above).
  • The café that Egg works in, and later runs, is on Victoria Road in North Acton next to the Tube station.
  • The café where the characters are often seen having lunch was actually just further down Southwark Bridge Road from the Anchor Terrace house (on the same side). It was called the Island Cafe.
  • The job centre Egg visits is on Borough High Street, Southwark, London.
  • Miles' country house in the 2007 reunion (Whithurst Park in Sussex) is the same location used in Lewis Series 1 episode 1 "To Whom the Gods Would Destroy".

Music[edit]

A then largely unknown Ricky Gervais, partner of producer Jane Fallon, was credited as "Music Advisor" for the series, and it was he who commissioned the theme tune, written by The Way Out. In 2000 BBC Music issued a compilation CD featuring the theme tune and songs from the mid 1990s by bands including: Blur, The Charlatans, Jamiroquai, Manic Street Preachers, Oasis, Whipping Boy, The Prodigy and Supergrass.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Jason Deans, broadcasting editor (2005-07-04). "BBC to revisit This Life, 10 years on | Media | MediaGuardian". Guardian. Retrieved 2012-11-19. 
  2. ^ Paul McCann Media Correspondent (1997-07-24). "The end of Life as we know it? - News". The Independent. Retrieved 2012-11-19. 
  3. ^ "Entertainment | This Life returns after 10 years". BBC News. 2006-09-20. Retrieved 2012-11-19. 
  4. ^ O'Donnell's first name is only mentioned on a couple of occasions
  5. ^ Busfield, Steve (2007-01-02). "This Life +10 : Worth the wait? | Media". theguardian.com. Retrieved 2013-09-29. 
  6. ^ Rogers, Jon (2007-01-03). "This Life reunion brings 3.4m to BBC2 | News | Broadcast". Broadcastnow.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-09-29. 

External links[edit]