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Our Friends In The North writer conflicted about legacy of the show

Writer Peter Flannery has spoken about the Our Friends In The North reboot (BBC/PA)
Writer Peter Flannery has spoken about the Our Friends In The North reboot (BBC/PA)

The writer of Our Friends In The North has said he is conflicted about the legacy of the show ahead of a radio reboot of the programme.

Writer Peter Flannery has rewritten the nine-episode series as an audio drama, which will be broadcast on Radio 4, starting on March 17.

The story follows four friends living in Newcastle, as they encounter the real-life consequences of the moral failings of the political class.

Writing in the Radio Times, Flannery said he questioned whether the story he sought to tell 26 years ago, about sleaze and corruption and how they affect the working man, is still of interest to the public, and he decided that it was.

He also wrote that he is not entirely happy with the legacy the show left behind, for fear that instead of questioning the cynicism around politics, it contributed to it.

He wrote: “Quite understandably, many people at the time refused to believe the play’s central charge. Sadly, that refusal no longer applies.

“It’s nowadays taken as read that local and national politicians are slippery people on the make and our police forces prey to systemic corruption and malpractice.

“Our Friends has played its own small part in bringing about that sea change in public perception.

“I’m not entirely happy about that. The TV serial has contributed to the cynicism and despair I originally set out to question.”

Our Friends In The North will be broadcast on Radio 4 (BBC/PA)

A 10th episode will also be broadcast, written by Adam Usden, and will be set in 2020 but will still tackle issues like housing conditions and young people’s engagement with politics.

Originally broadcast in 1996, Our Friends In The North starred Daniel Craig, Christopher Eccleston, Gina McKee and Mark Strong.

This time round James Baxter will play Nicky, Norah Lopez Holden will play Mary, Philip Correia will embody Tosker and Geordie will be played by Luke MacGregor.

The cast also includes Humans star Tom Goodman-Hill, and sees original cast members Tracey Wilkinson and Trevor Fox return in new roles, the BBC previously said.

(Radio Times/PA)

Read the full article in this week’s Radio Times.

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