Politics, open government, and safe streets. And the constant incursion of cycling.

The Original Reality Television

Prompted by the recent US airing of the most recent episode, I’ve started re-watching Michael Apted’s 7 Up series. It follows the lives of a dozen or so Brits from the age of 7 through 49. The first episode (7 Up) was filmed in 1964, and since then, Apted has attempted to include all of the original participants in an episode every seven years (e.g., Plus 7 (age 14), 21 Up (age 21), etc.) since then. It’s not only fascinating as a number of period pieces, it’s heartbreaking, as we watch the inevitable narrowing of life’s choices.

I imagine that the 49 Up episode will be available as a rerun on your local PBS station, but if it’s something that sounds interesting to you, you can find it at Amazon(or, as always, on the Internets).


Friday Notes


The Army Airs Some Laundry


  1. Joy

    We’ve watched the series over the past 6 months or so. The narrowing you mention is hard to watch, especially as you reflect on your own life’s choices and aging. Also, the compromises people make that you can swear you never would, you know? But we also had a lot of fun looking at all the crazy clothes and hairstyles, and calling out the obvious twits.

  2. MB

    It really is something – I can’t imagine anyone watching it without assigning each kid to be any number of people they knew at that age (or imagine people they know now as those then). I certainly ID’d with a kid in there, and see my own father clear as day in another.


    And then there are some heartbreaking moments that just stand on their own –

    “University? What’s that?”

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