|Neil at 7|
For the benefit of non-British visitors, I must explain the background to "63UP".
First let me tell you that it is a documentary TV show that first began in 1964 when it was titled "7UP" - nothing to do with fizzy lemonade. Seven years after that it was "14UP" and then it became "21UP"(1977), "28UP"(1984), "35UP(1991)", "42UP"(1998), "49UP"(2005), "56UP" (2012) and finally - just this past week "63UP"
|Neil at 63|
The show focuses on fourteen people. They were filmed and interviewed when they were seven years old with their whole lives ahead of them. Every seven years the programme makers have sought to re-interview all of them to consider how their lives are going. One has died and two or three have been reluctant to extend their participation.
I remember the very first programme in the sequence - filmed in black and white - and how fascinating it was to see the differences between the children. I have watched the show each time since and have keenly observed how the subjects' lives have evolved. At the same time of course my own life has been evolving in parallel though not filmed each seven years.
The project's central theme has always rested on the Jesuit motto, "Give me a child until he is seven and I will give you the man." Indeed, the way that the various lives have unraveled seems to confirm that the die is more or less cast by the age of seven.
It is a beautiful series that speaks of what it means to be a human being. Along the way there have been marriages, the births of children and grandchildren, health problems, financial problems, dreams fulfilled and others left behind, laughter and tears. They battled through it all and now they are sixty three - Tony and Paul, Symon and John and Jackie , Sue and Suzy and Bruce and Neil, Peter, Nick and Andrew and Lynn (now deceased).
The next sequence will appear in 2026. It will be "70UP". Incredibly, the current director has been with the "Up" series since its conception. He is Michael Apted - now 78 years old himself. I wonder if he will be around to witness the next steps of those fascinating journeys through this thing we call life.
|Lynn at 56 - now deceased|