Still Angry After All These Years?

Five authors - four 'angry young men' and one woman - return to the towns that provided the inspiration for their classic novels of the late 1950s, early 1960s.

In 1955, John Osborne finished writing Look Back in Anger, his seminal work, centring on Jimmy Porter, the archetypal 'angry young man' - classless, rebellious, disillusioned with contemporary Britain. This five-part series revisits the places where such works were set, and talks to some of the men (and one woman) who created them, and to some 21st Century versions of their literary anti-heroes.

Episodes

EpisodeTitleFirst
Broadcast
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01Saturday Night And Sunday Morning2004110120060720

Five authors - four 'angry young men' and one woman - return to the towns that provided the inspiration for their classic novels of the late 1950s, early 1960s.

In 1955, John Osborne finished writing Look Back in Anger, his seminal work, centring on Jimmy Porter, the archetypal 'angry young man' - classless, rebellious, disillusioned with contemporary Britain. This five-part series revisits the places where such works were set, and talks to some of the men (and one woman) who created them, and to some 21st Century versions of their literary anti-heroes.Alan Sillitoe's 1958 novel offered up the prototype of the disrespectful young factory worker in Arthur Seaton. Many of the factories in Nottingham, Sillitoe's home town, have now gone. What and who have replaced them? This programme takes Sillitoe - and his brother Brian - back to the site of their old family home (now waste ground) opposite the old Raleigh factory (now demolished and replaced by university accommodation. The site includes a Sillitoe Court and Finney's Bar - Albert Finney played Arthur Seaton in the 1960s film of the book). The author also meets some young engineering apprentices - are their lives as chaotic and roisterous as Arthur's?

02A Kind Of Loving2004110220060727

Stan Barstow's 1960 classic, set in West Yorkshire, tells the tale of Vic Brown, a bored draughtsman who gets his girlfriend Ingrid pregnant and has to marry her.

Are the post-industrial North and its inhabitants still 'gritty'? We take Stan back to Wakefield and Dewsbury to find out what today's Vic Browns are up to.

Among the people he talks to is the deputy editor of the Dewsbury Reporter - who judged a beauty contest with Stan 40 years ago and who still, like Ingrid, believes in the virtues of home, a clean hearth and whiter-than-white nappies.

03Kes2004110320060803

The book that made Barry Hines famous (its full title is A Kestrel for a Knave) tells the tale of secondary modern dunce Billy Casper and the kestrel he catches and trains. It's set in a mining village near Barnsley. Now the pits have gone, where do the lads dream of flying to? We take Barry back to Hoyland Common, where he was born and brought up; see the place where Barry's brother found a kestrel - the incident that led to Kes; revisit his old junior school; and talk to boys at Kirk Balk comprehensive school - where Barry once taught PE and English - about their dreams, aspirations and hobbies.

04The Sporting Life2004110420060810

Published in 1957, David Storey's novel focuses on rising rugby league star Arthur Machin and his antics on and off the field. Writer and TV presenter Ian Clayton, standing in for Storey, talks to members of Featherstone Rovers rugby league club about how the game has changed, and how the goalposts have moved for aspiring young sportsmen. Among his interviewees are former international player David Hobbs, and two of the club's latest signings - both French. What would Storey's macho anti-hero, Arthur Machin, have had to say about that?

05 LASTUp The Junction20041105

Published in 1963 when its author, Nell Dunn, was in her mid-twenties, Up the Junction depicts episodes from the lives of three young women who live in Battersea, work at a sweet factory and go out with boys on bikes.

Do today's south London girls still dream mainly of make-up and boyfriends? We talk to a group of them about the book - which was made into both a TV and feature film in the 1960s - and look at the changes that have occurred over the past 40 years to the people and places around Clapham Junction.