Director Shane Meadows’ brilliant This Is England series came to its supposed end last year in a feature-length episode that neatly tied up almost all of the characters’ loose ends.
The creator of the series, spun off, along with other mini-series set in ’86 and ’88, from the 2006 film, says there will be no more from Lol, Woody, Shaun and the gang, although he has offered some hope to fans saying “never say never,” and that he’d write more if he could think of a good enough storyline to justify doing so.
There’s something to be said for quitting while you’re ahead, but it would be sad if this series was the last we saw of the characters that have grown up on screen in front of us. We care what happens to them, which is how Meadows gets away with the more mundane scenes, like the barbecue in the second episode, why the traumatic scenes have such impact and we laugh during the sillier moments.
Here are a few reasons why there should be more
The cast are up for it
Thomas Turgoose, who has played Shaun Fields ever since he was the youngest skinhead in town, pleaded with Shane Meadows to make another series as soon as the credits were rolling on the emotional finale.
Sitting on the BBC Breakfast sofa, Vicky McClure said it was only in pencil that ’90 was the last we’d see of Lol, and she was hoping Meadows would change his mind, while Joe Gilgun told Digital Spy: “It’s been 10 years for a lot of us, working together, and the prospect of that not happening again is a scary one.”
Meadows has said it’ll be hard to move on
Ever since the original This Is England, Meadows and the rest of the cast have talked about the family bond between cast and crew. There’s a beautiful story involving the funeral of Thomas Turgoose’s mum, who had died suddenly while he was filming. Meadows hired a minibus to drive all the cast up to the funeral to show their support.
“Something was born that day I think,” Meadows told the Daily Telegraph. “Being in that van with everyone on a very sad day, when you can’t help someone. They weirdly became like the gang in the film after the event. I think that was why, a few months later, I started thinking we should do something else with it.”
It’s perhaps this bond that’s stopped him ruling out revisiting the series at some point in the future, saying the full stop at the end is “written in pencil”. Here’s hoping.
TIE ’92 would have a killer soundtrack
The music in TIE ’90 was good, but things really got going two years later. By then, grunge had taken off, shoegazing was massive, not to mention Dre’s ‘The Chronic’, Manic Street Preachers’ ‘Generation Terrorists’, The Lemonheads ‘It’s A Shame About Ray’, ‘Experience’ by Prodigy, Rage Against The Machine’s debut and REM’s ‘Automatic For The People’.
We’re building up to the Britpop one
While football has formed a smaller and smaller backdrop to the series as they’ve gone on – Italia ’90 was barely mentioned – the music has been at the forefront. Lol and Woody might have lost touch with popular culture, but we saw rave culture through the eyes of the younger characters. How great would it be to see Shaun, Kelly, Harvey and Gadget having their minds blown by Suede’s first two albums, being disappointed by ‘Second Coming’ or driving to Knebworth to see Oasis?
There are loose ends (SPOILER ALERT!)
This Is England ’90 ended neatly. For a show that, above all else was about trying to find a place to belong, most of the characters have seemingly found what they were looking for. Shaun finally looks set, with college and a new girlfriend, Woody and Lol, married, secrets out in the open, may be able to live freely once and for all. Kelly, meanwhile, has started facing up to the truth about her dad and at least said she’d stopped taking heroin.
How long those situations last is another thing entirely, and that could form part of This Is England ‘92, as it would predictably be called, with Primal Scream’s ‘Screamadelica’, or perhaps Nirvana’s ‘Nevermind’ (both released in late ’91 but were everywhere by the following year) and Spiritualized’s ‘Lazer Guided Melodies’ providing the soundtrack. There’s definitely some mileage left in Milky’s story too, so expertly played by Andrew Shim. He waited so long for revenge, but how will he deal with the aftermath of having won it?
And what next for Gadget, Harvey, Trev, Flip and Higgy? This Is England has always done a great job of pushing different characters to the forefront, and they’ve all shone at various times. Revisiting their pasts, or in the case of Flip and Higgy, delving into it for the first time, could provide the storylines for any subsequent series.