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Series / Our Friends in the North

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BBC drama series following the lives of four friends from North East England over three decades. Each of the nine episodes is named after the year in which it is set- 1964, 1966, 1967, 1970, 1974, 1979, 1984, 1987, and 1995- and they chart political events and social changes occurring in these years, from the widespread police corruption of the 1960s, the miners' strikes and the rise of Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s, and the birth of New Labour in the 1990s. The series was adapted for television by playwright Peter Flannery, from his stage play of the same name.

The series provided four Star Making Roles for the then little-known actors cast as the four Friends of the title- Christopher Eccleston as Wide-Eyed Idealist and would-be politician Dominic "Nicky" Hutchinson; Gina McKee as downtrodden but quietly ambitious Mary Soulsby; Mark Strong as deluded would-be rockstar Terry "Tosker" Cox; and Daniel Craig as troubled and naive runaway George "Geordie" Peacock. It also featured Malcolm McDowell as London Gangster Benny Barrett, Peter Vaughan as Nicky's father Felix, David Bradley as kindly Labour MP Eddie Wells, Julian Fellowes as crooked Home Secretary Claude Seabrook and Donald Sumpter as police Commander Harold Chapple.

In 2022, Flannery remade the series for BBC radio, complete with a tenth episode set in 2020.

This show provides examples of:

  • Absurdly Youthful Parents: Christopher Collins is said to to have a five year old son despite being eighteen. This would mean that he fathered a child at thirteen.
  • Abusive Parents:
    • Geordie's father is a violent drunk who eventually drives Geordie to run away from home after assaulting him.
    • Tosker grows up to be an abusive parent himself. Most of the time he is absent from the lives of his and Mary's two children, Anthony and Bernadette. In one episode he can be seen aggressively teaching his son Anthony to play drums so he can form a band with him and continue to chase his dream of musical stardom, getting angry when Anthony doesn't get the hang of it and his heart isn't in it.
    • Christopher Collins neglects his son Sean. When his son goes to visit him, he acts brusquely around him and tries to get rid of him. This prompts the boy to kill himself.
  • Adaptational Timespan Change: The original play ended in 1979 with Margaret Thatcher's rise to power. Given the amount of time that had passed when the series got made, Flannery expanded the story.
  • Adaptation Expansion: The original 1982 stageplay was a three-hour production about a group of friends dealing with the fluctuations of British politics between 1964 and Margaret Thatcher's election in 1979. The series is nine episodes long (although it also drops an entire subplot involving Geordie as a mercenary in Rhodesia) and continues to follow them through the Thatcher years and into New Labour. The 2022 radio version adds a tenth episode taking them into the 21st century.
  • Affably Evil: Benny Barrett is a gangster and porn baron, but is very charming and affable. When Geordie reveals that he's having an affair with Benny's mistress, he takes it well. Hell, he's happy that Geordie didn't lie to him.
  • Alcoholic Parent: Geordie's father is a violent, mentally unstable drunk who is implied to be in and out of an asylum.
    Tosker: Why do they keep letting him out?
    Geordie: He's alright until he's had a drink in him.
  • The Alcoholic: "1987" reveals that Geordie and Eddie Wells both became this, for different reasons. the former as result of becoming a homeless vagrant, and the latter out of bitterness over the state of the country under the Tories.
  • AM/FM Characterization:
    • Nicky has a Bob Dylan poster on his wall and his guitar has a "This Machine Kills Fascists" sign on it, in keeping with his political idealism.
    • Tosker clearly loves The Animals, to the extent that he hires a tribute band to play at the opening of his club.
    • Austin Donohue's first scene has him driving in his Rolls Royce blaring "Zadok the Priest" by Handel on the radio.
  • Artifact Title: The original play contained a significant number of scenes set in Rhodesia, chronicling UDI, the oil embargo and the emergence of armed resistance to white supremacy. This plot strand was dropped from the televised version, although the title, a reference to how staff at BP in South Africa referred to the Rhodesian government of Ian Smith, remained.
  • Author Avatar: Mark Strong believes that the three main characters are these for Peter Flannery. Nicky is the political side, Geordie is the Sex, Drugs, and Rock & Roll side and Tosker is the Newcastle side. Christopher Eccleston drew inspiration for his performance as the older Nicky from Flannery himself, basing aspects of his characterisation on Flannery's personality and even wearing some of the writer's own colourful shirts.
    • Flannery admitted that he sees himself in all four protagonists:
    Mary's Catholicism. Nicky wanting to change the world as a young man and at 50 saying "Not only do I not have the answers, I don't even know what the questions are anymore". I'm Geordie in my search for a family and Tosker as someone who doesn't give a fuck about politics.
  • Bald of Evil: The more bald Tosker gets, the more evil he gets. He starts off as a long-haired, happy-go-lucky, harmless wannabe rockstar, and ends up as a bald Freemason and dodgy buy-to-let landlord.
  • Baldness Angst: In "1979", Tosker starts losing his hair, which causes him to become depressed. He's bald for the rest of the series.
  • Bludgeoned to Death: Benny beats his treacherous henchman Cyril to death with a stick, then tells his rivals to take "that piece of rubbish" with them and dump him somewhere.
  • Book Dumb: Geordie doesn't have the slightest understanding of politics. Whenever Mary and Nicky are busy obsessing over elections, he is blissfully unaware that they are even taking place. Unlike many Book Dumb characters, he doesn't make up for it by being Street Smart. He even tells Nicky that the last book he read was Biffo the Bear annual.
  • Bomb Throwing Anarchist: Nicky falls in with some in "1970".
  • Brief Accent Imitation: Benny loves Geordie's Newcastle accent, and impersonates it. He also mimics his Scottish henchman Charlie's accent.
  • Broken Pedestal: After abandoning his political ambitions, Nicky finds success working as a photographer and has several books of his work published. At a book signing he meets awe-struck photography student Alice, who tells him she is writing her dissertation on his work. They begin an affair, which Alice ends abruptly and with no explanation. Nicky eventually finds out that she has a boyfriend her own age and is totally over him-and he is heartbroken when she tells him she's now writing her dissertation "about something else".
  • Brotherhood of Funny Hats: Tosker joins the Freemasons in "1984" in the hope that it will further his business venture as a dodgy buy-to-let landlord.
  • Bury Your Disabled: Mary's physically and mentally handicapped brother Patrick passes away of natural causes in "1970".
  • Business Trip Adultery: In "1987", Nicky has an affair with a student while on a book-signing trip to London.
  • Calling the Old Man Out:
    • Geordie to his dad. He stands up to his abuse and headbutts him.
    Gordon: I am not mental.
    Geordie: Ya are! That's why everyone's laughing at ya!
    • Nicky to Felix. In "1995", he vents his frustration at his father, who doesn't register due to his Alzheimer's.
    • Mary's son Anthony calls her out for being a martyr all his life.
  • The Casanova: Geordie in general, but notably when out on the pull with Tosker.
  • Casanova Wannabe: Tosker, when out on the pull with Geordie.
  • Catchphrase: "Crazy name, crazy guy!" is how Tosker responds whenever anyone (especially an attractive young woman) remarks that he has an unusual name. As an older man this is used to make him seem rather pathetic and a shadow of his younger, womanising self.
  • Climactic Music: The end credits of every episode are soundtracked with a piece of music from the year in which the episode was set. The final episode, "1995", is probably the most notable for this, featuring Oasis' "Don't Look Back In Anger". By coincidence, the song was on top of the charts in the week the episode was aired, and the writers hadn't even known it was going to be released as a single.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Nicky photographs down-and-outs in London and just happens to run into Geordie among them.
  • Crazy Homeless People: When Nicky encounters Geordie in "1987", he's become a mentally deranged, alcoholic vagrant who doesn't recognise his former friend. After seeing Eddie Wells make a speech on television, he gets mixed messages and proceeds to start a fire at the hostel he's staying at.
  • Cute but Troubled: Women seem to find Geordie irresistible, even after he's told them all about his troubles. He even manages to get lucky with one of Benny's associates after telling her he got out of prison only hours before they met.
  • Dad the Veteran: Felix is not only a veteran of the Jarrow March, but also World War II. When he sees the machine gun Nicky's hiding, he recognises it from his service in Italy in 1943.
  • Damn, It Feels Good to Be a Gangster!: Geordie enjoys life working for Benny Barrett. Sadly, it doesn't last.
  • Death of a Child: In "1995", Sean Collins, having been rebuffed by his father, steals a car and crashes into a wall, killing himself.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: In the first episode, Geordie tells Nicky that the reason he didn't get laid in America was because he was "too busy telling the darkies how to vote".
  • Dirty Cop: Corruption in the Metropolitan Police in the 1960s and 1970s is tackled.
  • Disappeared Dad:
    • Tosker is never around for his and Mary's children, Anthony and Bernadette, and they don't think too highly of him. Anthony even vows that he'll grow up to murder him.
    • Geordie is one, leaving town at the start of the series to get out of a Shotgun Wedding.
  • Dreadful Musician: Tosker is convinced he will one day front a successful rock band. He is encouraged by his relatively well-off parents, who buy him musical instruments and let his bands play in the pub they own. He only gives up on his dream when he reaches middle age and his then-wife, Mary, delivers a "Reason You Suck" Speech about how mediocre he really is.
  • Drive By Shooting: In "1970", some of Nicky's anarchist friends are seen driving by the British Embassy and shooting at it with a machine gun.
  • Driven to Suicide:
    • In "1966", Berger, a former police constable, hangs himself when his allegations about police corruption aren't acted upon.
    • In "1995", Sean Collins kills himself while joyriding after being turned away by his father.
  • Eiffel Tower Effect: The Tyne Bridge makes several appearances, and the Newcastle Council offices have a particularly good view of it.
  • Establishing Character Music: Geordie is introduced idly watching the slums being demolished as "The House of the Rising Sun" by The Animals plays on the soundtrack.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Colin Butler's smear campaign against Nicky and his extreme beliefs disgust Claudia Seabrooke and his fellow Tories so much that they sack him from the party.
  • Everybody Smokes: This is pre-smoking ban Britain, and it shows.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: The sudden appearance of lots of rather dodgy long wigs on the male characters tells us that we have reached The '70s.
  • Fall Guy: Geordie is set up and jailed under the Obscene Publications Act after Benny arranges to have illegal porn planted in his flat as revenge for sleeping with his mistress. It's been a long time coming- as the police put it: "It's time for Geordie's holiday!''
  • Firing Day: In "1967", Tosker loses his job at a factory when the company has to halt illegal exports to Rhodesia because of the UK sanctions.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • In "1964", Mary gives Nicky a camera for his birthday. Twenty years down the line, he finds success as a photographer.
    • Geordie asking Tosker if he looks like his father. He sadly ends up a drunken vagrant like his father.
    • In "1970", Nicky shows Geordie some down-and-outs to explain why he's politically motivated, but Geordie remains apathetic. In "1987", Geordie ends up like them. Also, in the first episode, his first scene in London has him sleeping on a park bench.
  • Four-Philosophy Ensemble: Nicky is the Optimist, Geordie is the Apathetic, Tosker is the Cynic and Mary is the Realist.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble:
    • Nicky is Melancholic - stubborn, passionate, moody, idealistic.
    • Geordie is Choleric - cocky, arrogant, indifferent, pessimistic.
    • Tosker is Phlegmatic - ambitious, brash, easy-going, proud.
    • Mary is Sanguine - thoughtful, sensible, compassionate, introverted.
  • Free-Range Children: Sean Collins is being allowed to run wild, neglected by both mother and father and spending his time joyriding.
  • Friend to All Children: Geordie gets on very well with children. He befriends the daughter of a hotel owner in "1970" and Sean Collins in "1995".
  • The Friends Who Never Hang:
    • Geordie and Mary only interact during Nicky's birthday tea in "1964".
    • To call Nicky and Tosker friends would be stretching it, as there's tension between them due to their relationships with Mary.
  • Generation Xerox: Christopher Collins' son Sean turns out like his father, a juvenile delinquent from a broken home who gets into trouble.
  • The Ghost: Mary Benson, the girl Geordie got pregnant and is expected to marry at the start of the series. Neither she, nor her unborn child are ever mentioned again after the first episode.
  • Grumpy Old Man: Felix is often grumbling about everything from the youth of today, to the Labour Party.
  • Hate Sink: Amazingly, there are characters who are more despicable than a Soho porn baron - Geordie's father (an abusive drunkard), Colin Butler (a smarmy git who ruins Nicky's political chances with a smear campaign and undermines Eddie Wells), Christopher Collins (a delinquent who treats his own son like shit) and his stepfather (a sleazy neglectful lout who assaults the elderly Felix).
  • He-Man Woman Hater: Tosker has a bit of an old-fashioned view of marriage. He expects Mary to carry out what he perceives to be her wifely duties, and resents her for spending "his" money on getting an education for herself and trying to carve out a new career. he isn't too impressed with the Labour Women's Meeting she hosts in their flat either.
  • Horrible Housing: Austin Donohue and John Edwards tear down the slums in Willow Lane to make way for council flats. Mary and Tosker live in said flats, which decay over time. By the time Geordie is living there in "1979", they've deteriorated to the point where they're condemmed and demolished.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Nicky again and again as he struggles to find any like-minded souls in politics. Geordie as he struggles to succeed in the criminal underworld among people who are really just using his naivety against him.
  • I Have No Son!: Felix disowns Nicky in "1970" when Florrie finds a machine gun under his bed.
  • In Love with the Gangster's Girl: Geordie has an affair with Benny's mistress. Benny finds out and asks Geordie straight up if he is seeing her and he tells the truth. Benny doesn't seem at all mad and admires his honesty. Then later on, he sets Geordie up as a Fall Guy for the police in retaliation for the affair.
  • It Runs in the Family: Nicky inherited his father's outspokeness and stubborness.
  • It's All My Fault: In "1987", Elaine encourages Tosker to invest their money in the stock market. They then lose everything on Black Friday. She says this word-for-word. Thankfully, Tosker gets them back on their feet.
  • Important Haircut: In "1984", Tosker Terry can be seen to have finally cut his long hair short.
  • Jerkass: We meet Christopher Collins in three different stages, and he's an utter shit in all of them - as a juvenile tearaway who annoys Felix and Florrie, as a teenage delinquent and criminal, and an adult who neglects his own son.
  • Law of Inverse Fertility:
    • When cheating on Nicky with Tosker, Mary really doesn't want a baby but Tosker gets her pregnant and she ends up marrying him. When Tosker leaves Mary for Elaine, they want a baby and try for one, only to discover that Elaine is infertile.
    • Geordie gets a local girl pregnant and runs away from Newcastle partly to escape the responsibilities he isn't yet ready for.
  • Love Triangle: Nicky, Mary and Tosker.
  • Man Hug: Several, occurring when the Friends are reunited. Especially when Geordie returns from one of his disappearances in one piece.
  • Meaningful Name: Geordie Peackcock. Geordie because he's from Newcastle and Peacock because he's proud and vain.
  • Meaningful Rename: After leaving Mary and settling down with new girlfriend Elaine, Tosker insists on being known by his real name rather than the childhood nickname his wife always called him.
  • Messy Hair: Geordie once his hair starts getting longer. Especially when he's homeless.
  • A Mistake Is Born: Tosker and Mary's son Anthony is the result of a one-night stand in a park. Presumably, this led to them being married.
  • The Mole: Eddie's new researcher turns out to be a spy for Colin Butler working to undermine him.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed:
    • The dealings between city boss Austin Donohue and architect John Edwards are an obvious reference to the real life scandal involving T. Dan Smith and John Poulson. Filming did not begin until after both men had died.
    • Claude Seabrook was based on former Home Secretary Reginald Maudling.
    • Benny Barrett was based on real life Soho gangster and porn baron James Humphreys.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Not in the series itself, but Eccleston didn't bother with a Geordie accent when he auditioned, concentrating instead on characterisation.
  • One-Night-Stand Pregnancy: Mary and Tosker's date culminates in them having sex in a park. This results in their son Anthony.
  • Oop North: Newcastle is portrayed as grim, but to be fair London is portrayed as being, if not quite as grim, one hell of a lot sleazier and more dangerous.
  • Orphaned Punchline: Austin Donohue's joke about George Brown's pork pie ("And then George says, 'If you're not going to eat that pork pie, I'll have it'").
  • Parental Neglect: Sean Collins is neglected by both parents, hence why he engages in criminal mischief. When his father turns him away, he kills himself joyriding.
  • Parental Substitute: Part of the reason why Geordie falls in with Benny Barrett is because he views him as a father figure.
  • Police Brutality:
    • Geordie experiences this in "1966" while manning one of Barrett's knocking shops. He ends up with broken ribs.
    • Nicky gets a first-hand view of the violence between the police and the miners in "1984".
  • Politically Incorrect Hero: Geordie uses the term 'darkies' to describe black people while Tosker tells a joke about a Chinaman, in keeping with the attitudes of the 1960s.
  • Potty Failure: In a rare instance of this trope being played seriously, Nicky brings a senile Felix to see a woman who remembers him from The Jarrow March to prove that it wasn't in vain...and then Felix soils himself.
  • Precision F-Strike: When the normally sweet sounding Claudia Seabrook sacks Colin Butler from her staff:
    One last thing, Colin. Fuck off, you scruffy little man. Back to your scruffy little friends.
  • Prefers Rocks to Pillows: Having escaped from prison, Georgie stays at Tosker and Elaine's house. Despite having a proper bed, Geordie sleeps on the floor of his room.
  • Prematurely Bald: A major source of angst for Tosker, who desperately tries to cover his bald patch with a combover. By 1984, he's bald.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
    • Fed up of Tosker's endless futile attempts to become a rock star, Mary finally tells her husband that he's a mediocre musician who will never get anywhere and should give up and get a real job.
    • Nicky delivers one to Eddie in "1987" when he explains why he doesn't want to get involved in politics anymore- by telling Eddie that he's just as corrupt and pathetic as his fellow Members of Parliament whom he claims to despise.
    Nicky: What I'm saying is this - as far as I remember, you came here to get houses built, to attack poverty to speak up for people who have no place in the world, and what are you doing? Getting pissed in the bar and playing the same irrelevant political point scoring games as the rest of the wankers in this place. I mean, is this what it's all about for you now, Eddie? Sticking your tongue out at the Tories? It's pathetic.
    Eddie:...Well, uh, guess that's you and me finished then, Nicky.
    • Mary delivers one to Claudia Seabrook in "1987":
    Mary: Have you any idea the kind of damage you do when you make that sort of statement?
    Claudia: Just a second, please.
    Mary: When are you going to get it into your head that you share responsibility for this place? I spent last week closing daycare centres, old ladies sitting on their own for months on end in dirty houses because I've also had to sack the home helps, closing libraries, closing community...
    Claudia: This boy fired a gun at the police because the local libraries run out of trollop, is that it?
    Mary: There are seventy five per cent youth unemployment on this estate.
    Claudia: Indeed, and I regret that. But I do not need a lecture from you about my own constituency.
    Mary: Well at least I live in a constituency.
    Claudia: Yes, I noticed you'd moved in. Look, if you think you could do a better job of it than me, then why didn't you stand against me in the election? I would have welcomed it.
    Mary: Because I was too busy coping with the consequences of the bloody mess you and your government are making.
    Claudia: Not because you might lose, then?
    Mary: Oh, drop dead. You're a waste of time.
  • Resigned in Disgrace: In "1987", Eddie Wells is planning on exposing corruption in the government. Nicky discovers that his researcher Francine is in fact a plant by Colin Butler, who has leaked false information to Eddie. Nicky manages to inform Eddie of this set up right before he is due to start questioning Butler in a Select Committee, and embarrassingly Eddie has to give up his planned exposé. Utterly humiliated, Eddie decides to retire with as much grace as possible.
  • Riches to Rags: Geordie goes from living the high life of working for a gangster to a vagrant on the streets.
  • Rule of Symbolism: The series with Nicky returning home having spent time in America on Civil Rights marches. He goes to Mary's house, where her family is watching The Black and White Minstrel Show.
  • The Scapegoat: In "1970", Benny Barrett sends Geordie on a break to Brighton. When he comes back, he finds his drawers filled with pornography and he's arrested. It turns out that Benny set him up as a fall guy in retaliation for having an affair with his mistress.
  • Scatterbrained Senior: Felix becomes this when he descends into Alzheimer's Disease.
  • Self-Made Man: Tosker goes from wannabe musician to factory worker, to running a fruit and veg van, to becoming a successful businessman.
  • '70s Hair: Dodgy wigs and fake sideburns abound in the 1970s episodes.
  • Shoot Him, He Has a Wallet!: In "1987", Christopher Collins causes a siege at his council estate when he brandishes an air rifle. This gets him shot in the shoulder by a police marksman.
  • Shotgun Wedding: Having got a local girl pregnant, Geordie runs away to escape both the wedding and his alcoholic father. After cheating on Nicky with Tosker, Mary discovers she is pregnant and leaves Nicky to enter a loveless marriage with Tosker. note 
  • Skilled, but Naive: Geordie, who seems to be doing well among the Soho porn barons, until he lets his arrogance get the better of him.
  • Sleeping with the Boss's Wife: Geordie spends 1966-70 working for Benny Barrett, but ruins it by having an affair with Barrett's mistress, Julia.
  • Sliding Scale of Shiny Versus Gritty: Very much at the gritty end.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Tosker, who sees himself as a gifted musician and irresistible to women and even throws out his own catchphrase.
  • Smug Snake: Colin Butler, the odious agent who runs a smear campaign against Nicky when he runs for Labour MP in "1979".
  • Straw Misogynist: When Benny reveals to Geordie that he knows about his affair with Julia, he shares his view:
    Women are rubbish, Geordie. Most people are rubbish, but all women are. Look, she's just a piece of rubbish. What you and her do or don't do from now on is your business. I'm finished with her. But you and me, we stay the same. No woman is worth any amount of aggravation.
  • Take It to the Bridge: Newcastles' Tyne Bridge is featured prominentely. Nicky and Eddie have a conversation on it in "1967" and the series ends with Geordie walking across it.
  • Then Let Me Be Evil: After being framed by Benny and doing time for a crime he didn't commit Geordie decides to seek revenge. He acquires a gun and tracks Benny down to Soho, but just as he is taking aim to shoot him he finds out that the vice squad have also been after Benny, when they show up and arrest him.
  • The Three Faces of Adam: Geordie is The Hunter (leaves Newcastle to find his fortune in London, but lacks clear direction), Tosker is The Lord (becomes rich and successful) and Nicky is The Prophet (had aspirations to change the world).
  • Time-Passage Beard:
    • Nicky grows a moustache in the late sixties and early seventies and a beard as he enters middle-age.
    • Geordie has a beard when Nicky finds him homeless.
    • Tosker grows a moustache as he hits middle-age.
  • Timeshifted Actor: Characters like Christopher Collins and Anthony Hutchinson are played by multiple actors from childhood to adulthood.
  • Took a Level in Cynic: Nicky's political idealism gradually fades as he's exposed to the reality of politics.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Anthony in the final episode, lashing out and blaming his problems and unhappiness on his mother, leaving his wife and children for another woman and threatening to break Nicky's neck if he breaks his mother's heart again.
  • The Tramp: In "1970", Nicky encounters a group of them being harassed by the police. In "1987", he photographs the down-and-outs of London, one of whom turns out to be Geordie.
  • Trauma Conga Line: Geordie. Over the miniseries, he's been abused by his dad, beaten up, made unemployed when the café he worked at closed, sent to prison on false charges, had the woman he loves commit suicide, made homeless and jailed again.
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behavior:
    • Tosker and Mary's son Anthony when he vows that he will one day murder his father. Later he goes on a bit of a crime spree and is arrested.
    • Young Sean Collins' favourite pasttime is stealing cars and joyriding.
  • Turn Out Like His Father:
    • Both Nicky and Geordie in their own ways. The former becomes embittered and cynical as he grows older, the latter becomes a drunken vagrant. In a subtle bit of foreshadowing, Geordie even reassuringly asks Tosker if he's anything like his dad.
    • Sean Collins is a juvenile delinquent from a broken home and neglectful parents just like his father Christopher was. The difference is that Sean is way more tragic than his father.
  • Vengeance Denied: In "1974", Geordie tracks down Benny Barrett with the intention of killing him in revenge for setting him up and getting him imprisoned. Just when he's about to kill him at a restaurant, Benny gets arrested.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: Nicky confesses to his senile father that he wanted to please him.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • Geordie leaves Newcastle to escape both his abusive father and his impending marriage to a girl he made pregnant. Neither are seen nor even mentioned again after the first episode.
    • The single mother Geordie romances in "1970" meets the same fate.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: Nicky has dreams of becoming a left-wing politician who will make a real difference to the lives of poor working-class people. First he joins the Labour party, but quits when he discovers the levels of corruption within. He then joins an anarchist group closer to the extreme Left, but quits when he realises that they're plotting terrorist acts. He then rejoins Labour and stands in the general election but loses thanks to a vicious smear campaign by his Tory opponents. Finally he accepts that he is too nice for politics and abandons his political ambitions.
  • Wild Hair: Geordie when he becomes homeless, complete with shaggy beard.
  • Would Harm a Senior: In "1984", Felix is attacked by Christopher Collins' stepfather and his dog when he complains about the boy's hairdressing of him and his wife.
  • Wrong Side of the Tracks: The Valley View estate in Newcastle.