I watched Our Friends in the North in 2023 - here’s what I thought

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Our Friends in the North originally aired on the BBC in 1996.

Newcastle-based drama series, Our Friends in the North is highly regarded as one of the best television dramas of the 1990s, and helped sky-rocket its four lead actors to fame.

Starring Christopher Eccleston, Daniel Craig, Mark Strong and Gina McKee, the show focuses on their characters, Nicky, Geordie, Tosker and Mary as they navigate life over a period of 31 years.

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The drama consists of nine episodes in total, with each episode set in a different year, starting with 1964, before 1966, 1967, 1970, 1974, 1979, 1984, 1987, before ending with what would have been present day in filming at the time, 1995.

As I was less than a year old when the drama series originally began, and although I had heard it mentioned in passing, I had never actually watched the show.

With a love for the city I grew up in, and a desire to watch any films or TV shows set in Newcastle, (currently on re-watch of Byker Grove, and Purely Belter is certainly one of my favourite movies), I added Our Friends in the North as an absolute must to watch.

Once I discovered that the series was available to watch on BBCiPlayer, I thought now was a better time than ever to experience Our Friends in the North for myself.

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The first thing and undoubtedly the most important thing I picked up on, was the casting choices. Obviously I know all four lead actors as the household names they are today, but it was evident from their performances in this particular show the reason why they made it to the big time.

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Especially Daniel Craig, who is arguably the most famous actor of the four. His performance as Geordie was incredibly believable, moving and even at times, funny.

One thing that I also look out for in North East based TV shows and movies is the how spot on the Geordie accent is, especially when delivered by someone who is not from the city originally. While you can certainly hear overexaggerated, ridiculous accents in some cases, this was not the case with Our Friends in the North.

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But while the show brilliantly reflected the North East in the way of the personalities that inhabit the city, its main aim was to tell the story of political and social events which occurred during the times they focused on.

While these events such as general elections, the UK Miners Strike which took place from 1984 to 1985, and the Great Storm of 1987, affected many people across the UK, Our Friends in the North retold these real events from a North East perspective.

Our Friends in the North, starring Christopher Eccleston, Gina McKee, Mark Strong and Daniel Craig.Our Friends in the North, starring Christopher Eccleston, Gina McKee, Mark Strong and Daniel Craig.
Our Friends in the North, starring Christopher Eccleston, Gina McKee, Mark Strong and Daniel Craig. | BBC

In a nutshell, I have to say I was blown away by the series, and the performances by not only the lead actors, but the supporting cast also, and how they told the incredibly important history of the UK from 1966 to 1995.

It is evident even now, in the present day of 2023, why this show was so successful and why the lead actors went on to have incredibly successful careers.

I highly recommend anyone to watch Our Friends in the North, especially those of the younger generation who were brought up in Newcastle, to see for ourselves what our relatives experienced.

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