This Is England 90 Episode 1 – The DVDfever Review

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This Is England 90 is the final series to feature the characters first seen in the movie This Is England from writer/director Shane Meadows, and I have to admit I haven’t seen a jot of it before this programme.

Well, apart from the 5-minute summary put together in advance of this series.

Beginning with a series of clips summarising everything major that happened during 1990 – the year I started University, this was set to The LAs’ There She Goes in its entirety, a song I hated back in the day and I still don’t like it. Timeless Melody was a good follow-up, though, even if no-one bought it, as it failed to get into the Top 40.

Is it really 25 years since MP John Selwyn Gummer forced(ish) his daughter to eat a potentially dodgy burger?? Still, at least Thatcher was finally booted out of No.10. It was also the time of the Madchester music scene, and while at the time I heard the likes of Happy Mondays’ Step On and various Stone Roses tracks until I was sick of them, I have re-appreciated them over time and do like them again now.

So since I’m not familiar with this This Is England canon, I can see there are some things I’m out of the loop with, such as the topping of “coffee whip”, which is coffee. Whipped. Why didn’t I watch it before? The characters just irritated me every time I saw clips of it.


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This Is England 90 – the gang’s all here.


With a script that’s partly improvised, This Is England 90 began with Shaun (Thomas Turgoose) taking food from school from the last sitting, to no real benefit as they had food at home, drug intake was high, and we had Bros/Duran-hairstyled Flip (Perry Fitzpatrick) and Higgy (Joe Dempsie), two idiots wanting to take drugs and think just sniffing it will give them a hit. Shaun also found that his earlier love, Smell (Rosamund Hanson), was now dating someone else, Harrison (Haris Salihovic), and when he turned up to tell Shaun at the end that she couldn’t come to the disco, it predictably broke out into a fight.

With all the other characters thrown in, including Lol (Vicky McClureLine Of Duty) and Woody (Joseph GilgunPride, Lockout), it all felt rather self-indulgent at times, in one scene just showing them all dancing to Stone Roses’ Fools Gold in slow motion and little else, basically saying “These are the characters you’ve known for a long time, so you’ll watch them anyway, even when they’re not doing a lot.”

Okay, so there was a side plot in that scene, of sorts, with Flip and Higgy and a partially reluctant female, but overall, it was still a case of style over substance.

This Is England 90 had its moments but it felt very overhyped. I will still give it another go, however, as there’s just four parts and I can see how it might improve, not least with Stephen Graham‘s character, Combo, coming back into it next week.

One of the most interesting things was that there were no end credits for continuity announcers to waffle over. That marks a first for Channel 4!

This Is England 90 is released on October 5th on DVD with a Blu-ray boxset also available for This Is England 88 and This Is England 90, and click on the packshot for the full-size image. You can also watch it on All 4.


This Is England 90 – Series Trailer


Episode 1 Score: 4/10

Director: Shane Meadows
Producers: Mark Herbert and Rebekah Wray Rogers
Screenplay: Shane Meadows and Jack Thorne

Cast:
Woody: Joseph Gilgun
Lol: Vicky McClure
Shaun: Thomas Turgoose
Smell: Rosamund Hanson
Gadget: Andrew Ellis
Milky: Andrew Shim
Flip: Perry Fitzpatrick
Higgy: Joe Dempsie
Chrissy: Katherine Dow Blyton
Harrison: Haris Salihovic
Banjo: George Newton
Sonia: Lauren O’Rourke
Lisa: Lyra Mae Thomas
Jimmy: Billy Braithwait
Richard: Steve Brody
Kelly: Chanel Cresswell
Cynthia Fields: Jo Hartley
Bethany: Bethany Herbert
Nikki: Sherrie Johnson
Barbara: Rebecca Manley
Jennifer: Stacey Sampson
Harvey: Michael Socha
Mr Squires: William Travis
Trev: Danielle Watson
Phil Pagan: Bill Blackwood
Juliette: Poppy Corby-Tuech
Kes: Kieran Hardcastle
Uncle Rudy: Vauxhall Jermaine

Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.
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