Michael Apted Did you know that the premise of this series was taken from a quote stated by famed Spanish Jesuit, Ignatius Loyola? "Give me a child until he is seven and I will give you the man". Also, something else taken by this program, was my door keys last night. It must have been for about 60-minutes some time in 2012. But I could be mistaken you know.

The Up Series

Thirteen children. Thirteen lives. One documentary. And in this particular instalment of '56 Up', we get to see what has happened to the 'final five participants' out of 'the thirteen'.

What now follows is a breakdown on the life and times of Bruce, Lynn, John, and Tony.

Now Bruce spent the majority of his younger years in academia, learning and teaching both at home and abroad, until at 42 years of age he married a nice lady called Penny, and settled down to have two sons.

Currently he is teaching in a school in the English countryside, whilst practicing the erstwhile religion of Quakerism.

Lynn married her now husband, Russ, when she was 19 years old. By 21 she was involved in a mobile library. And then, a few years later, when this profession was abolished because of budgetary cuts, she managed to get a job in a library, before becoming a helper at this place of learning, plus with her two daughters and three grandchildren.

Life is good for Lynn.

John knew of his Bulgarian origins ever since he was at boarding school. However, I am sure that he would not have been able to foresee how his own ethnicity curbed his future whilst he was studying to become a barrister quite a few years later.

He married a Bulgarians Ambassadors daughter named Clair at 35. Plus he has also dedicated himself to perusing charitable ventures in his parental homeland.

Just like his school friend, John, Andrew spent the majority of his adolescent years studying the legal profession. Though, unlike John, at the age of 28, Andrew married a nice Yorkshire lass called Jane, had two children, and is now living in very eco-friendly surroundings in the English countryside.
As a kid Tony wanted to be a Jockey. And although he was able to fulfill this dream for a short while at least, by the age of 28 he became a cab-driver, had two daughters, and moved to Essex from East London.

At the moment Tony is living in sunny Spain with his family, occasionally popping back home to reminisce and do a spot of work.

Now last review (click here for review) I promised you some facts about the man behind this series, Michael Apted. Well, here they are: (1) Michael was born in Alesbury, Buckinghamshire, in 1941. He has been married twice and has had two children. (2) The first 'Seven Up' program was not directed by Mr Apted, he was just a researcher for the Granada televisions series that broadcast this program 'World in Action'. Canadian director, Paul Almond, directed it instead. It was meant to have been a 'one-off' special. (3) In 2003, Michael was elected as the president of the director's guild of America. (4) Mr Apted was involved with selecting the fourteen children' for this show, all of them had to represent a wide range of socio-economic backgrounds in Britain at that time, with the presumption that each child's class would predetermine their future. (5) Since 2002, he has been a member of the documentary branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. (6) Unbeknown to Michael at the time, since 1973, other countries have taken the concept behind this documentary, and converted it to their own socio-economic leanings. For example: Australia [Gilliam Armstrong], Beligum [Paul Jambers], Canada [Janis Lundman], Czech Republic [Helena Trestikova], France [Michel Fresnel], Germany [Winfried Junge], Denmark [Årgang], Japan [Unknown], The Netherlands [Bijna volwassen], South Africa [Angus Gibson], Sweden [Rainer Hartleb], Russia [Sergei Miroshinchenko], and America [Numerous]. Also, since 2000, Julian Farino has started a new British version of the series called '7UP 2000'. (7) In the Queen's Birthday Honors List, Michael was awarded the 'Companion of the Most Distinguished Order of St. Michael and St. George' for his services to British film and television. (8) This series has been broadcast on both ITV and BBC. Plus it came top of the 2005 '50 Greatest Documentaries' poll on Channel 4. (9) Michael has directed such movies as 'The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader' and 'The World Is Not Enough'. Also, for television, he has directed soap operas such as 'Crossroads' and 'Coronation Street'.

The Posh Kid

OK, so now that Michael is out of my system, how can I conclude my review for this series of '56 Up'? Hmmm? What about some unanswered questions, huh? (1) Since '21 up', there has been one participant who did not want to be involved with this show anymore. Charlie is his name, and he was a friend of Andrews and Johns, as seen in archive footage within this program. But I wonder why he has abandoned this venture? Was it something to do with how this documentary has invaded his life on an annual base's? Or is it something else altogether? (2) Honestly, I would have liked to have gauged what this documentary was trying to accomplish with its account. As I have mentioned in my previous review, you can perceive this documentary in a number of different ways. However, is that what this program all about? Perception? Or is it something to do with privileged people verses working class people, and how money and status does seem to have an extra edge over those without it? Moreover, and that is the case... well... there is no point in this program is their? This is already a statement of fact without an annual record. (3) When you sit down and start to analyse the lives of the participants on a generic level, you can begin to see certain patterns emerging. For instance, like how the majority of children who went to boarding school tried to buck the trend of their own up-bringing, by raising a family of their own. Also, it appears that for those children who came from a more financially secure background, they never really managed to find a 'partner' until their thirties or forties. Please note though, this 'pattern' does not fit all of the participants involved. It's just a generalist view.  

The Cabbie from 56 Up

Overall, '56 up' is a great documentary to watch. It's revealing. It's makes you think. And it is one of those 'special events' that tugs at your heartstrings and makes you melancholy for the past, plus curious about the future at the same time. Now I would have liked to have inserted a clip here, just to illustrate to you what this program means to me as an entity. But I am afraid to say that YouTube has removed the 'Harry Enfield: Wayne Slobb and Nice But Dim pastiche' from their system. So instead I would like to end this piece on a musical ditty, which - just like this program - is nostalgic, has a vast array of character in it, and is a joy to follow.

Brings a tear to your eye, doesn't it?

THE RATING: A (Hope To See You In Seven Years)