The "Up Series" at 56

Friday, January 11, 2013


In 1964, a documentary called Seven Up! sought to illustrate Britain's entrenched class system through the stories of 14 seven-year-olds. Michael Apted, an assistant on that film crew, ended up expanding the project into a longitudinal series: every seven years, he has directed a new documentary that revisits the characters as they grow. One of the most memorable characters from the series is Tony Walker, a London cab driver. Brooke speaks with Michael and Tony about the 2012 installment of the series, 56 Up.

UPDATE 1/15/2013: Check out our 56 Up web extra to hear selected outtakes from this interview.

Mary Z. Cox - Scarborough Fair


Michael Apted and Tony Walker

Hosted by:

Brooke Gladstone

Comments [1]


I was thrilled that OTM was doing a story on the 7-UP documentaries, and even more thrilled that you had Michael Apted as a guest. I've been a fan of the series since I first saw 21-up when I was an early college student. But I was disappointed that your portrayal of the series gave us only the male participants. Aside from Susan in the final and mostly gratuitous clip, you gave us only the men from the cohort.

The 7-Up series is meant to be about class, but it is also about gender. Nick is a wanderer, and Susan is a betrayed Tory wife. But Jackie, Lynn, and Sue are working class women whose lives are inflected not just by class, but also by gender. Life has made its mark on them in a different way than life made its mark on Tony. I would have liked to have heard OTM pull out this dimension, as well.

Jan. 13 2013 09:12 PM

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