Archive for April 23rd, 2013


by Allan Fish

(UK 1982 301m) DVD2


p  Michael Wearing  d  Philip Saville  w  Alan Bleasdale  ph  Keith Salmon, Brian Cave, Paul Woolston, John Kenway (and others)  ed  Mike Bloore, Greg Miller  m  Ilona Sekacz  art  David Attwood, Andrew Smith

Bernard Hill (“Yosser” Hughes), Michael Angelis (“Chrissie” Todd), Tom Georgeson (“Dixie” Dean), Julie Walters (Angie Todd), Alan Igbon (Loggo Logmond), Peter Kerrigan (George Malone), Gary Bleasdale (Kevin Dean), Tony Haygarth (Aitch), Paul Barber (Scotty), Jean Boht (Miss Sutcliffe), David Ross (Donald Moss), Chris Darwin (Snowy Malone), Clive Russell, Andrew Schofield, Ricky Tomlinson,

Oh, you can talk about the concrete and the boys who work the train, and the fellas in the hopper in the sun and wind and rain, but the boys who work the black stuff, sure they’re really rough and tough, when they’re working on the highway laying the old black stuff.”  The words of the opening song to the 1978 play The Black Stuff introduced us to the characters who, four years later, would really grow into the public consciousness in the serial masterpiece, Boys from the Blackstuff.

The original play documented how they lost their jobs in the first place, trying to organise a get rich foreigner while on a job laying tarmac in Middlesbrough for their boss.  The series took up a couple of years later, with the protagonists all claiming dole and/or social benefits due to being still out of work.  The action takes place over the course of five episodes, each dealing with a different character or plotline, yet running chronologically.  ‘Jobs for the Boys’ sees the boys get foreigners on a building site for a shifty Irish contractor who refuses to pay them as actual jobs.  ‘Moonlighter’ sees Dixie employed as a security guard on the docks but coerced into allowing a robbery to take place.  ‘Shop thy Neighbour’ showcases Chrissie’s marriage conflict as his wife grows impatient at his passivity and retreating into himself.  ‘Yosser’s Story’ showcases the nervous breakdown and complete emotional devastation of the eponymous Yosser.  Finally, ‘George’s Last Ride’ details the last days in the life of the elderly George, looking back on what has been a fighting, but possibly futile existence. (more…)

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