Christopher Eccleston

Comfort Classic: Our Friends in the North

Our Friends in the North (Credit: BBC)

Few TV dramas deserve the epithet “Shakespearean” or “Tolstoyan” more than Peter Flannery’s Our Friends in the North, which turns 25 this year. 

The BBC Two series was epic in scale, using more than 160 actors and 3,000 extras to tell the story of post-war Britain, its people and its dirty politics. It is also the tale of four Newcastle friends, who grow up and grow old over three decades. And it is both moving and magnificent. 

New BBC drama Dodger to star Christopher Eccleston, David Threlfall, Billy Jenkins and Saira Choudhury

Billy Jenkins as Dodger (credit: BBC)

The ten-part series will see Christopher Eccleston (The A Word) star as Fagin, with David Threlfall taking the role of Sir Charles Rowan, the Chief of Police. Billy Jenkins (The Crown) will star as the titular Dodger, with Saira Choudhury (Life) as Nancy.

Written by Rhys Thomas and Lucy Montgomery, with a guest episode written by Charlie Higson, Dodger will follow the iconic pickpocket and his gang as they weave through London to fulfil Fagin’s light-fingered demands and avoid the hangman’s noose.

The joy of difference in BBC's The A Word

Max Vento in the A Word (Credit: BBC)

Over three series, The A Word has been widely praised for its honest portrayal of autism and the tensions this unleashes on a family. But The A Word is also laugh-out-loud funny and joyful – and, given its Lake District setting, beautiful to look at.

The BBC One drama, which finished its third series in early June, tells the story of Joe, a young boy with autism, and his fractious, larger-than life extended family.

Peter Bowker and Christpher Eccleston make real reality television

Peter Bowker doesn’t “do diversity”. Yet, over the past couple of decades, this RTS and Bafta award-winning screenwriter has become TV’s “go-to guy” for dramas featuring people with disabilities.

A comic and compelling double act, of Bowker and his long-time collaborator the actor Christopher Eccleston, entertained the RTS North West’s capacity audience at the Lowry in March. They traced the development of Bowker’s work as he has, increasingly, challenged stereotypical representations of people affected by learning disabilities.