Opinion

There were some good things about 1986

Having watched the This is England '86 series on Channel 4 it leaves me with a couple of observations. One of them is that television still has the power to shock when great scripting and acting are combined, but there is also another point to be made about technology.

The lives of the group of friends that were facing the dole and tough times in 1986 were meant to speak to a generation in the same situation, now looking at a world still scarred by recession and where opportunities were difficult to come by.

But today's generation has one vital difference from those in 1986 and that is technology. The most technical things got in This is England 86 was the TV or the radio being switched on to show the World Cup, the year of Maradona's hand of God episode.

But there was no internet, mobile phones bleeping with texts or kids using email and instant messaging to arrange meeting up. Here they had to walk round to each others' houses or the pub and just lump it if their friend was out. Now, of course, unless you switch everything off you are never out of touch.

The world depicted by Shane Meadows in the Channel 4 drama was bleak, rough and tragic but in some ways it reminded you of a past when time could be your own, when you could be ignorant of what was happening on the web and a time when friendships were not made by clicking the 'follow' button. It might have been tough but in some ways perhaps it was better?

This was first published in October 2010

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