Once Upon a Time in the North (BBC 1, 1994)
First in an occasional series concerning programmes I've heard about or come across that seem tantalisingly out of reach. Programmes which have somehow had no DVD release, even in this age of Network DVD. If anyone has seen it and has any memories, please feel free to comment below...
I am prompted to mention this series, as it was mentioned on the same page of an old Observer I was reading today with the original purpose of researching the Eurovision Song Contest. I had literally never heard of this before, and it sounds interesting - and surely worthy of comparison with Peter Tinniswood's Uncle Mort saga, Early Doors (an equally fond portrayal of working-class culture as The Royle Family, but unlike that series, it did not outstay its welcome with endless specials) and the work of Alan Bennett.
This was its preview:
'The Simpsons have been made flesh and transposed to north-west England. This new six-part comedy from Tim Firth is probably the closest British TV has so far got to recreating the grim humour of working-class family strife. It also sees Bernard Hill emerging from the quagmire of poor scripts that have blighted his recent work to play downtrodden Len Tollit, who in this opener uses his redundancy cheque to set up a mobile phone company. Christine Moore plays his West End musical-obsessed wife Pat, Bob Mason his hippie, spirit-guided truck-driving brother, and Susan McArdle and Andrew Whyment his bickering children, whose exchanges could well prove weekly highlights.' (The Observer, 30/04/1994, p.16)