BBC 7Up series catches up with subjects as adults

Millennium 7 Up generation are BACK at 28 and they’re far less ‘settled’ than their predecessors at the same age with only one married and two homeowners – while four still live with mum and dad

  • EXCLUSIVE: Ryan, 28, from Bolton, featured in BBC 7Up series throughout life
  • Follows lives of people from various backgrounds catching up every seven years
  • At seven Ryan was struggling with disability admitting he becomes ‘frustrated’ 
  • He struggled with depression after his grandfather died and father walked out
  • Now he’s managed to buy his own home and is ‘more determined than ever’ 
  • When they first graced our screens, the millennium 7 Up generation were full of joyful optimism and dreams of becoming professional footballers or moving to Hollywood. 

    But now aged 28, they are stuck in the humdrum of working life, with many still living with their parents and trying to find their path in life. 

    The 11 stars of the TV documentary, launched the first year of the new millennium in 2000 when they were all aged seven, return to our screens tonight for the latest instalment. 

    Taken together, the group seem far less settled to their predecessors, the original 7 Up kids, who first appeared on screens in 1964. 

    Two of the original contributors were married before 21 Up, and nine married by 28 Up, with the majority homeowners and parents before the age of 30. 

    In contrast just two of the current cohort own their own homes – four still live with their parents – and only one is married with children. 

    John, from Farnborough, aged seven

    John, from Farnborough, aged 28

    Owen, from Cardiff, aged 7

    Owen, from Cardiff, aged 28

    Orala, from Kettering, aged 7

    Orala, from Kettering, aged 28

    7 Up is back: The 11 stars of the TV documentary, launched the first year of the new millennium in 2000 when they were all aged seven, return to our screens tonight for the latest instalment. Pictured top to bottom: John, Farnborough, aged seven and 28; Owen, Cardiff, aged seven and 28 and Orala, from Kettering, aged seven and 28

    Unsettled millennials: How the cast compare to the original 7 Up generation at the age of 28

    MARRIAGE 

    Original cast 

    Of the original cast, eleven married but only six remained together – with several going on to a second marriage.  

    Both Lynne Johnson, of east London, and Jackie Bassett, from Motherwell, were married by 19 – but Jackie has been divorce twice, brought up her three children as a single parent. 

    Sue Davis married at 24 – but divorced by the time she was 35 while Peter Davies, from Liverpool, was married by 28, but divorced and re-married in his 40s.  

    Dr Nick Hitchon, originally from the Yorkshire Dales, was married by 28  but has since divorced and remarried. Similarly,  Symon Basterfield, from east London, was married by 28 but has since divorced and remarried. 

    Tony Walker, from Bethnal Green, was married by 28 Up and remains happy with his wife Debbie while Andrew Brackfield, from London, remains married a fellow solicitor.  

    Paul Kligerman, who lives in Australia, was married in his 20s and remains with his wife Sue, while Suzanne ‘Suzy’ Lusk remains married to her husband Rupert, who she wed before 28 Up. 

    By 63 Up, Neil Hughes, of Liverpool, had married but later separated from his wife, while Bruce Balden, Hampshire, wed a fellow teacher in his 40s and remains happily married. 

    Millennials

    Only one contributor, Owen, from Cardiff, was married at the time of filming, while five of the subjects were in stable relationships. 

    CHILDREN

    Original cast 

    The group have at least 20 children between them, with several members having their first child before 28 Up. 

    Leading the group is devoted family man Tony, who has three children with wife Debbie and Symon who has six children and ten grandchildren. 

    Sue Davies has two children, while  Jackie has three children – who she raised as a single parent. 

    Bruce had two sons in his 40s and Peter had children during his second marriage. Andrew had two sons with wife Jane, while Paula and Susie both had a daughter.  

    Millennials

    Only one contributor, Owen, has children.   

    HOMELIFE AND CAREER

    Original cast 

    By 28 Up, some cast members were stay at home parents while others had followed their passions, or experienced personal tragedy. 

    Nick had moved to the US to work as a nuclear physicist with his wife while Charles Furneaux is now a producer making his own documentaries. 

    Lynn, who dreamed of working at Woolworths as a child, landed a job with a travelling children’s library before taking up a role at a school. She sadly became the first cast member to die after a brief illness in 2013

    Neil spent much of his twenties and early thirties a homeless drifter while by 28 Neil was an underpaid and seemingly uninspired school teacher in Leicester.

    Tony was working as a cabbie while John Brisby QC was building his career as a lawyer.  

    Millennials

    By 28, John, from Farnborough has had his travel plans scuppered by Covid and remains living with his mum, while Stacey was still living in China but considering coming home to the UK. 

    Ryan, from Bolton, and Orala, from Kettering, own their own homes, while Kent-based Hannah, Owen, Courtney, from Liverpool and Glasgow-based Ben are saving up for them. 

    Both Hannah and Orla have recently quite their city jobs to pursue passions, Orla in music and Hannah in interior design. 

    Sanchez has bagged a job in Ibiza, been cast for a BBC reality show and now has a regular job as a DJ on local radio while Gemma works for a charity as an disability rights activist. 

    Etonian Oliver is now sharing his rented London flat with his girlfriend from Hong Kong and is considering swapping careers to become a writer, while Courtney is working in a school for children with special needs. 

     

    Advertisement

    Tonight viewers will see Old Etonian Oliver, who is renting in London, re-evaluate his career after leaving Yale.

    Originally from Hackney, Orala has given up her tech career to become a musician – but has purchased a home in Kettering – and Hannah is planning to leave her rented flat in London and move home to Kent to save money. 

    One of the most poignant contributors in the show is Ryan, from Bolton, who has cerebral palsy, and at the age of 28 has overcome his battle with depression and purchased his own home – insisting he’s ‘stronger than ever’. 

    Here, a closer look at where the original cast are now – and how it compares to their predecessors… 

    CAST OF 7 UP: MILLENIUM GENERATION 

    John, Farnborough  

    At 7: One of five brothers brought up in Slough, John was already self-assured, funny, and clear about what he wanted from his life. He memorably professed to ‘hate books’ and that he would prefer ‘a big big big big television’. He was also curious to find out ‘how to get a wife’. 

    At 14: He dreamt of travelling and spending his first thousand pounds on ‘something proper stupid’.

    At 21: He lived on his own working for his step-dad Darren as a labourer, though he’s always called Darren ‘Dad’, telling the BBC that he views his biological father as ‘nothing more than a sperm donor’. He loved partying, BMX, tinkering with cars and tattoos. 

    At 28: Frustrated by Covid as plans to migrate to Australia on hold, and no raves and festivals, he still loves ‘anything remotely dangerous’ and manages to hang out with mates and family who still live close by. 

    Owen, Cardiff 

    At 7: Owen was excelling at all the sports he tried. He loved all sport and was aware that he was ‘lucky’ to have a ‘nice house’ and loving parents ‘who aren’t divorced’.

    At 14: He was a national swimming champion, and county cricket captain who had set his sights on competing in the London Olympics.

    At 21: Owen was working for a bank having chosen not to go to university, and was still living at home with his very close-knit family. When asked about his hopes for the future, he said that aspiring to a life just like his parents ‘wouldn’t be such a bad thing’.

    At 28: The only one of our contributors to have children, Owen has two toddlers and is married to the woman who was his girlfriend when he was filmed at 21. 

    They’ve been living between in-laws’ houses whilst doing up their new home, which they’ve recently moved into. 

    Orala, Kettering 

    At 7: From a Nigerian family from Hackney, where she grew up with her mother – a pastor in the local church – her two sisters and brother. She was already very definite in her opinions and the strength of her Christian beliefs. 

    At 14: Orala was proud that she ‘isn’t a stereotype’ and determined to succeed academically even though she felt that people would automatically assume she would be ‘rubbish’ because she’s black and a girl from one of the poorest boroughs in London. 

    At 21: Having gained four A levels, she was studying Biomedical Sciences at Reading University. 

    At 28: She is living in Kettering where she has moved so that she could afford to buy her own home. She is still extremely close to her mother and sisters – in contact daily via FaceTime. 

    But Orala has only been out of the house a handful of times this year and not just because of Covid. Although she knows it’s unusual, she likes her own space, and the quiet allows her to be creative, so the lifestyle suits her. 

    Covid has prompted a rethink about her customer-focussed work in start-ups, a job she’s given up to pursue music – a talent she believes that she shouldn’t ignore because it is a gift from God. She is now working from her DIY home studio building up a global fan base on Instagram.

    Ryan, Bolton

    At 7: Born prematurely, Ryan from Bolton has cerebral palsy. At seven he wanted to be the ‘Bolton Wanderers Manager’ and dreamt of being able to jump. 

    At 14: He was proud that he could jump, but said that ‘if he had the chance he would rather not be disabled’. 

    At 21: He was working hard to become increasingly independent, learning to walk unaided and drive, able to shine at wheelchair rugby, approaching national level, and comfortable with his disability and what he’d achieved because of and in spite of it. 

    At 28: Ryan has moved into his own house, away from his mother Dawn for the first time. After the traumatic exit of his father from his life, and the death of his grandfather ‘who was like a father figure’ to him, and subsequently being dropped from the elite UK wheelchair rugby squad, Ryan is ‘on the long steep hill back up’ after two serious bouts of depression. 

    Ryan now has full time job as a court administrator and is determined to gain promotion. He is back playing club rugby at division 1 level, and loves hanging out with mum, stepdad, grandma and his mates. 

    Stacey, China/UK 

    At 7: Stacey was a Joyful, playful seven year old from New Mills in Derbyshire who loved playing in the brass band, dancing to Steps and going to her local Brownies.

    At 14: She’d never really left her home town, and didn’t like Manchester because it was ‘too big’ and ‘there could be anyone there, absolutely anybody’.

    At 21: She was found working teaching English to teenagers in the Chinese city of Changsha in the Hunan province of Southern China.

    At 28: At the start of 2021, she was still there in China, but thinking it is time to come home. Stacey missed being around her family, and should she wish to start one of her own, would prefer it to be in England.

    She says that her ‘Chinese journey’ has meant that she’s hugely grown in confidence, and that it has allowed her to meet people from all over the world – including her Pakistani boyfriend who she’s been in a relationship with for six years. The only problem is, that due to Covid and his medical studies, they haven’t seen each other for two years.

     Ben, Isle of Mull/ Lochgilphead/ Glasgow  

    At 7: Ben was a quiet, laid back boy from the Isle of Mull in the Inner Hebrides. He dreamed of playing football even if it meant moving away from the island which he thought was ‘like heaven’, though heaven ‘would be a wee bit higher’. 

    He chose to stay with his fisherman dad on Mull when his mum moved to the mainland after their divorce.

    At 14: Ben was forced to travel to the mainland for school and weekly board because there are no secondary schools on Mull.

    At 28: Now living with his mum and stepdad in a small town on the mainland, Ben is working as a joiner on social housing projects – saving for a move into his own place; either locally or ideally in Glasgow. 

    He enjoys ‘simple pleasures’; playing football, visiting family on Mull, going out with mates in Glasgow. 

    Ben doesn’t think much about the future and would never seek out the limelight, admitting he doesn’t much enjoy the experience of being on camera.

    Sanchez, Leeds  

    At 7:  Born, raised and still living in Chapeltown, Leeds, Sanchez was a loud and enthusiastic advocate for his community. He wanted ‘to live in London or Hollywood and be a star’.

    At 14: He was a talented footballer, training at the Leeds United Academy, where he signed his first professional contract. 

    At 21: He had been released by Leeds and was struggling to find a new club, attending trials with lower league teams without long-term success. 

    At 28: Sanchez has seen a whirl of positivity despite the huge personal blow of not making it as a footballer and subsequent battle to ‘find a reason to get out of bed’. 

    In the last couple of years he has bagged a job in Ibiza, been cast for a BBC reality show and now has a regular job as a DJ on local radio. 

    He also represents Leeds on the board of its City of Culture campaign, was invited to speak in front of 14k people in Leeds at a BLM rally and appears as a regular guest on C4 daytime show. He has his own clothing brand DBA – Dream, Believe, Achieve.

    Gemma, Bolton   

    At 7: When her body was attacked by a virus when she was 2, Gemma was left paralysed. By seven she wanted to work on ‘a computer helping people’, and was proud to tell her friend Ryan who the prime minister was.

    At 14: She was frustrated by not ‘being able to walk with her friends to the shop at the top’, and dreamt of ‘being married’ to someone ‘kind who’ll help’ and ‘it just being her day’.

    At 21: She was studying criminology and had met Charlie her boyfriend. She told the BBC ‘we just work’.

    At 28: She said that where previously she never wanted to identify herself as a disabled person, and was fighting to ‘fit in’ to society – she has now completely changed. 

    Having experienced discrimination trying to access the workplace after graduating in law, she now works for a charity as an disability rights activist. Previously more interested in looking good in a ‘very conventional way’ and going out to ‘get hammered’, she’s now ‘happy to identify as a disabled person’. 

    She’s more engaged politically, more confident in her opinions and what she has to offer – and feels secure in herself. 

    Disability is still a daily struggle, particularly as she gets older – but she and boyfriend Charlie are still very much together – though not necessarily with the fairytale dreams of getting married.

    Oliver, London 

    At 7: Oliver was an only child from West London, who said that his mum was ‘a Director of Harrods’ and that his dad ‘ was a lawyer who buys and sells companies’ which he thought ‘was a bit boring’! A thoughtful, creative child, Oliver was already determined that he didn’t fancy being rich when he grew up because he didn’t ‘want to be stared at through a fancy car window’. 

    At 14: He was at Eton, a self-professed perfectionist and very competitive. 

    At 21: Oliver had moved to the US to major in history at Yale, and to cox the national and Olympic athletes in their rowing team. He admitted to hating ‘being beaten’, putting himself under intense pressure to succeed academically and sportingly. 

    At 28: He is now sharing his London flat with his girlfriend from Hong Kong, who he met on a dating app whilst they were both working towards their PhDs.

    He describes the experience of being in love for the first time, whilst still being restless about finding a meaningful job and not falling into the traditional career lines for someone of his background.  

    Courtney, Liverpool 

    At 7: She watched the planes in Kirkby, Merseyside and dreamed of travelling far from home. 

    At 14: She hadn’t travelled further than Devon. 

    At 21: Courtney was studying Law at the University of Liverpool, travelling to Europe and Israel in the holidays, and teaching herself Hebrew and learning Mandarin in her spare time. A quiet and self-contained student, Courtney eschewed the party lifestyle at uni, describing herself as a ’50 year-old trapped in a 20 year-old’s body’ – spending evenings fixing her ironing board rather than out clubbing. Having applied straight after graduating for a job as a teaching assistant working with children with special educational needs. 

    At 28: She has just started teacher training at a school in Wigan where the BBC filmed her teach her first-ever French class. 

    From what she describes as an underprivileged background, she is keen to defy stereotypes – so for her academic achievement, intellectual curiosity and developing her understanding of language and other countries and cultures are important. 

    She thinks she gets more out of spending time with close friends than ‘being in a relationship’. She still lives at home with her mum and dad and brother in the same house she grew up in – saving hard for her own place, and more foreign travel. 

    Hannah, London/Deal

    At 7: One of six children from a small village in Kent, Hannah attended the local private school but was already self-aware enough to understand her own privilege.

    At 14: The BBC filmed her just before she left for the same boarding school her older siblings had been to. 

    At 21: A talented artist and mathematician, Hannah was studying architecture at Cambridge.

    At 28: She is living with her boyfriend in a rented flat in north London, working as interior designer. 

    But Covid has led them both to believe that they can make a success of working remotely so they’re about to move out of London to Deal on the Kent coast where Hannah will join her mother in her design business and they’re able to buy home of their own.

    Where are original 7 Up! kids now? Femail reveals their varied fortunes – including a homeless drifter turned preacher and a man who bitterly cut all ties with the project 

    Nicholas ‘Nick’ Hitchon 

    Ahead of 63 Up (right), Dr Nick Hitchon (pictured left in 7 Up), a professor in the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, revealed he had developed throat cancer and wasn't likely to see the end of 2020

    Ahead of 63 Up (right), Dr Nick Hitchon (pictured left in 7 Up), a professor in the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, revealed he had developed throat cancer and wasn’t likely to see the end of 2020

    Ahead of 63 Up, Dr Nick Hitchon, a professor in the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, revealed he had developed throat cancer and wasn’t likely to see the end of 2020.  

    Director Michael Apted said at the time of filming 63 Up: ‘[Nick] was the last interview we did and we were told he’d probably be dead in a few days or weeks.  

    ‘He was amazing. He said we could only do 10 minutes at a time and I deliberately didn’t see him until we had the camera there and rolling. 

    ‘He was very, very calm and very, very cool about it all. He then did an interview that lasted an hour and a half. I was gobsmacked by it. He really turned it on. He and I were really close. He was a real tower of strength for all of this, never letting me down.’

    Nick was raised on a small farm in Arncliffe, a village in the Yorkshire Dales, and educated in a one-room school four miles’ walk from his home.  

    He later attended a boarding school and went to Oxford University where, he mentions in 63 Up, Theresa May was a classmate.

    Nick then moved to the US to work as a nuclear physicist, and married a fellow British immigrant, Jackie. His wife took part in 28 Up but was apparently unhappy about how viewers responded to her comments – with some declaring their marriage was doomed. 

    She refused to feature in 35 Up and 42 Up, and by 49 Up they had divorced. Nick remarried Cryss Brunner, 10 years his senior, who taught in Minneapolis. 

    During an appearance as a contestant on NPR game show Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!, Nick said he ‘did not like the way they’d portrayed me’ in the early Up documentaries.

    ‘It was clear that they were portraying me as a bumpkin. And, I mean, you know, I was mad,’ he revealed.  

    Lynn Johnson

    Jackie, Sue and Lynn were primary school friends picked from London's East End to represent the working classes - three of only four female participants, something Apted expressed regret over. Pictured from left to right in 35 Up

    Jackie, Sue and Lynn were primary school friends picked from London’s East End to represent the working classes – three of only four female participants, something Apted expressed regret over. Pictured from left to right in 35 Up 

    Jackie, Sue and Lynn were primary school friends picked from London’s East End to represent the working classes – three of only four female participants, something Apted later expressed regret over. 

    The trio, who were seen playing together in the first documentary, remained friends throughout the process.  

    Lynn, who dreamed of working at Woolworths as a child, married at 19, had two daughters and landed a job with a travelling children’s library before taking up a role at a school. She took early retirement when the department downsized and she was laid off.  

    She sadly became the first cast member to die after a brief illness in 2013 – a year after the release of 56 Up. She was a doting grandmother of three and still married to her husband Russ.

    Lynn had served as Chair of Governors of St Saviour’s primary school in Poplar, London, for over 25 years and after her death a section of the school library was renamed in her memory. 

    Apted said of her passing: ‘She was a lovely woman. She was very bright and she had a rough life. She was one of our favourites because she was really straightforward and honest.’ 

    Sue Davis

    Sue, pictured in 7 Up, who works as an administrator at Queen Mary University of London, also married early, at 24, and was divorced by the age of 35

    Sue, pictured in 7 Up, who works as an administrator at Queen Mary University of London, also married early, at 24, and was divorced by the age of 35

    Sue, pictured at 56, works as an administrator at Queen Mary University of London. She married early, at 24, and was divorced by the age of 35. She's now with a long-term partner

    Sue, pictured at 56, works as an administrator at Queen Mary University of London. She married early, at 24, and was divorced by the age of 35. She’s now with a long-term partner

    Sue, who works as an administrator at Queen Mary University of London, also married early, at 24, and was divorced by the age of 35. 

    In 42 Up she told how she was living as a single mother and spoke about the fulfilment she got from her two children. 

    She’d found love again with partner Glenn, and in 56 Up it was revealed they’d been engaged for 14 years. Seven years later, in 63 Up, they still hadn’t made it down the aisle. 

    Sue, a fan of amateur dramatics, spoke of looking forward to retirement – adding that she would like to be living in an idyllic cottage in Devon or Cornwall.  

    Jackie Bassett 

    Jackie Bassett, Lynne Johnson and Susan Davies with director Michael Apted during 35 Up

    Jackie Bassett, Lynne Johnson and Susan Davies with director Michael Apted during 35 Up

    Mother-of-three and grandmother-of-five Jackie, who now lives in Motherwell after relocating to Scotland nearly 30 years ago, married at 19 and had several different jobs. Pictured at 49

    Mother-of-three and grandmother-of-five Jackie, who now lives in Motherwell after relocating to Scotland nearly 30 years ago, married at 19 and had several different jobs. Pictured at 49

    Mother-of-three and grandmother-of-five Jackie, who now lives in Motherwell after relocating to Scotland nearly 30 years ago, married at 19 and had several different jobs. 

    She has arguably had the toughest time of the three, having gone through divorce twice, brought up her children as a single parent and lost her partner when he was hit by a car while undergoing cancer treatment. 

    In 49 Up, Jackie gave Apted a piece of her mind for the type of questions he was asking and accused him of making too much of her illness. 

    In the earlier programmes she’d felt the director had only spoken to the women about ‘domestic stuff’ whereas the boys were asked ‘political or theoretical or religious questions’.

    She told the Guardian: ‘He had certain ideas about the way things should go, and for a long while he couldn’t deviate from that… I just decided that today’s the day that I tell him exactly what I’m thinking. He was a bit shocked by it.’ 

    Speaking about her condition, she added: ‘It doesn’t rule me. Michael believes that’s the total reality of my life, but I don’t want to be seen that way.’   

    Bruce Balden

    As a child at a prestigious boarding school in Hampshire, Bruce (pictured aged seven) was concerned with poverty and racial discrimination and aspired to become a missionary

    As a child at a prestigious boarding school in Hampshire, Bruce (pictured aged seven) was concerned with poverty and racial discrimination and aspired to become a missionary

    Bruce during 49 Up

    Bruce, who did get to see his dad again, went on to study maths at Oxford University and went on to teach his subject in London's East End and Bangladesh before taking up a role at a well-regarded private school in St Albans. Pictured ahead of 63 Up

    Bruce, who did get to see his dad again, went on to study maths at Oxford University and went on to teach his subject in London’s East End and Bangladesh before taking up a role at a well-regarded private school in St Albans. Pictured left in 49 Up and right ahead of 63 Up

    As a child at a prestigious boarding school in Hampshire, Bruce was concerned with poverty and racial discrimination and aspired to become a missionary.

    At the age of seven he said his greatest desire was to see his father, who was a soldier in Southern Rhodesia. His parents had separated, with Bruce returning to the UK with his mother. 

    Bruce, who did get to see his dad again, went on to study maths at Oxford University and went on to teach his subject in London’s East End and Bangladesh before taking up a role at a well-regarded private school in St Albans.

    He married a fellow teacher before 42 Up, and had two sons. Bruce’s father watched the programme when he retired to the UK, and Bruce said he was proud of it. 

    His sons also love it, though his wife merely accepts it and he said he would pull out if she ever objected.  

    Neil Hughes 

    None of the children confounded viewers' predictions more than Neil; he was a bright-eyed pupil at a Liverpool school who played chess and hoped to go to Oxford - and the Moon

    None of the children confounded viewers’ predictions more than Neil; he was a bright-eyed pupil at a Liverpool school who played chess and hoped to go to Oxford – and the Moon

    Neil, pictured on the Isle of Orkney when he was 28. He spent much of his twenties and early thirties a homeless drifter

    Neil, pictured on the Isle of Orkney when he was 28. He spent much of his twenties and early thirties a homeless drifter

    Neil in 49 Up

    By 63 Up (pictured) has married; however, he and his wife have separated due to unspecified difficulties. He is also a lay preacher and has a home in France

    By 63 Up (right), Neil (left in 49 Up) had married; however, he and his wife have separated due to unspecified difficulties. He is also a lay preacher and has a home in France

    None of the children confounded viewers’ predictions more than Neil; he began the series as a bright-eyed pupil at a Liverpool school who played chess and hoped to go to Oxford – and the Moon.

    By 7 Plus Seven (14 Up), Neil was a nervous, anxious shadow of his former self, after being tormented by bullies. By 21 Up he’d dropped out of Aberdeen University after one term and was living in a London squat working on building sites. 

    Neil spent much of his twenties and early thirties a homeless drifter; after moving to Scotland he eventually moved into a council house in the Shetland Islands, where he wrote and appeared in a local pantomime.

    By the time of 42 Up he was back in London and stayed temporarily in Bruce’s flat. Despite Neil’s eccentricities during his stint, they remained friends and Neil later did a reading at Bruce’s wedding.

    Neil became involved in local council politics as a Liberal Democrat in the London Borough of Hackney, and completed a Bachelor of Arts degree from the Open University.

    He was first elected to Wick ward on Hackney London Borough Council in 1996, and resigned his seat in 2000. By 49 Up he had found a sort of peace in Cumbria, was active in local politics and in 2010 stood for the Lib Dems in Carlisle, finishing third.

    By 63 Up, Neil had married; however, he and his wife separated due to unspecified difficulties. He is also a lay preacher and has a home in France. 

    His journey somewhat disproves the notion of destiny underlying the series; Neil previously said: ‘I think it was Albert Camus who said that life is what happens while you’re waiting for something else.’

    Peter Davies 

    Peter in 28 Up

    Peter in 56 Up

    Peter (left in 28 Up) returned to the series in 56 Up (right) to promote his band, the Liverpool-based country-influenced The Good Intentions, and also appeared in 63 Up

    Peter went to the same middle-class Liverpool suburban school as Neil and also had aspirations of becoming an astronaut. 

    He drifted through university and by age 28 he was an underpaid and seemingly uninspired school teacher in Leicester. 

    He dropped out of the series after 28 Up, when he came under fire in the tabloid press for expressing his views about the education system during Margaret Thatcher’s era in government.   

    The director’s commentary in 42 Up revealed he later divorced, took up study of the law, became a lawyer, remarried, had children and moved back to Liverpool. 

    He returned to the series in 56 Up to promote his band, the Liverpool-based country-influenced The Good Intentions, and also appeared in 63 Up.

    Tony Walker

    Tony, a lively seven-year-old from Bethnal Green in east London, spent most of the first programme getting into scraps with the posher boys

    Tony, a lively seven-year-old from Bethnal Green in east London, spent most of the first programme getting into scraps with the posher boys

    Tony, a lively seven-year-old from Bethnal Green in east London, spent most of the first programme getting into scraps with the posh boys

    Tony in 49 Up

    Tony in 56 Up

    Apted admitted Tony defied his expectations; he previously said: ‘When Tony was 21 he was hanging out at the dog track… I was convinced he’d be in the slammer by 28.’ Pictured left in 49 Up and right in 56 Up

    Tony, a lively seven-year-old from Bethnal Green in east London, spent most of the first programme getting into scraps with the posh boys. 

    He dreamed of being a jockey and did manage to fulfil his ambition, albeit briefly, when he raced against Lester Piggott before becoming a taxi driver. 

    Apted admitted Tony defied his expectations; he previously said: ‘When Tony was 21 he was hanging out at the dog track… I was convinced he’d be in the slammer by 28.’

    To exaggerate his ‘cheeky chappy’ personality, during 21 Up Apted asked him to drive around the East End pointing out notorious haunts, including the pub where the Kray twins murdered a rival.

    Tony became a devoted family man, going on to marry Debbie, who was pregnant with their third child in 28 Up. She revealed candidly in 35 Up that they lost that baby, which put a tremendous strain on their relationship, but they went on to have another. 

    In that same show, Tony – who had moved to Essex – admitted he struggled being in a monogamous relationship, and seven years later in 42 Up he made the shocking confession that he’d committed adultery, though he and Debbie managed to work through it.

    By 49 Up Tony owned two houses, including a holiday home in Spain, and in the last show, 63 Up, he and Debbie had settled in the countryside. 

    Tony’s later dream of becoming an actor saw him achieve modest success, with small extra parts – usually playing a cabbie – in The Bill and EastEnders. 

    Charles Furneaux  

    Charles later attended Oxford as a post-graduate student and went on to pursue a career in journalism. Pictured in 21 Up

    Charles later attended Oxford as a post-graduate student and went on to pursue a career in journalism. Pictured in 21 Up

    Charles now makes documentaries of his own, most successfully as a producer of 'Touching the Void'

    Charles now makes documentaries of his own, most successfully as a producer of ‘Touching the Void’

    Charles, one of three well-to-do boys followed from a Kensington prep school, participated in the first three Up documentaries before cutting ties with the project. 

    He wanted to attend Oxford, but declared in 21 Up that he was glad to have avoided the ‘prep school–Marlborough–Oxbridge conveyor belt’ by going to Durham University instead.

    Charles later attended Oxford as a post-graduate student and went on to pursue a career in journalism. He declined to take part in 28 Up; Apted previously admitted he ‘went beserk’ during a subsequent phone call which ruined their relationship to the point where Charles attempted to force Granada to remove archive images of him from the films in which he did not appear.

    Ironically he now makes documentaries of his own, most successfully as a producer of ‘Touching the Void’.  

    Andrew Brackfield

    Andrew was one of Charles' prep-school classmates, though unlike Charles he has appeared in every single Up documentary. Pictured middle with Charles (right) and John (left)

    Andrew was one of Charles’ prep-school classmates, though unlike Charles he has appeared in every single Up documentary. Pictured middle with Charles (right) and John (left)

    Andrew, pictured left in 49 Up

    Andrew, pictured in 63 Up, has previously admitted appearing in the programme every seven years is 'not something I look forward to'

    Andrew, pictured left in 49 Up and right in 63 Up, has previously admitted appearing in the programme every seven years is ‘not something I look forward to’

    Andrew was one of Charles’ prep-school classmates, though unlike his disenchanted friend, he has appeared in every single Up documentary.

    He famously claimed he read the Financial Times when he was seven – though later revealed he was repeating what his father told him to say – and went on to study at Trinity College, Cambridge. 

    He subsequently became a solicitor, married Jane and had two sons. Andrew has previously admitted appearing in the programme every seven years is ‘not something I look forward to’.  

    In ’56 Up’ Andrew’s wife Jane talks of wanting a career after raising their boys. 

    John Brisby QC     

    John is the third of the Kensington prep school trio, and has subsequently criticised his portrayal in the documentaries

    John is the third of the Kensington prep school trio, and has subsequently criticised his portrayal in the documentaries

    Brisby said in 35 Up that he only does the films to give more publicity to his chosen charities. Pictured ahead of 63 Up

    Brisby said in 35 Up that he only does the films to give more publicity to his chosen charities. Pictured ahead of 63 Up

    John is the third of the Kensington prep school trio, and has subsequently taken issue with his portrayal in the documentaries. In 56 Up, he criticised Apted’s decision to originally portray him as part of the ‘privileged upper class’.

    ‘I think that the premise on which the programme was based, namely that England was still in the grips of a Dickensian class system, was outmoded even in 1964,’ he told PBS.

    ‘It didn’t reflect realities in 1964. In so far as the programme touches me I think it’s a complete fraud; it all appeared part of some indestructable birth right. 

    ‘What viewers were never told is that my father died when I was age nine, leaving my mother in very uncomfortable financial circumstances, she had to go out to work to see us through school and I got a scholarship to Oxford.’

    John has nevertheless appeared in all the Up shows bar two, 28 Up and 42 Up. He became a barrister and married Claire, the daughter of Sir Donald Logan, a former ambassador to Bulgaria, where his mother was from.

    He now devotes himself to charities related to the country, and hopes to reclaim family land there that had been nationalised. He is a great-great-grandson of the first Prime Minister of Bulgaria, Todor Burmov.

    Brisby said in 35 Up that he only does the films to give more publicity to his chosen charities.  

    Symon Basterfield 

    In 63 Up Symon told how his relationship with his children from his first marriage is improving and he has 10 grandchildren

    In 63 Up Symon told how his relationship with his children from his first marriage is improving and he has 10 grandchildren

    Symon is the only mixed-race participant and was brought up in the same children’s home as fellow Up star Paul Kligerman.

    He never got to know his father, and had left the charity home to live with his white mother by the time of 7 Plus Seven. Her struggles with depression were alluded to as the reason why he had been living in the home.

    Symon dreamed of becoming an actor, and by 28 he was married with five children. However, by 35 Up he was going through a divorce and opted not to take part in that documentary. 

    By 42 Up, Symon had married Vienetta, who had a daughter, and they had a son together. He revealed in 49 Up that he and his wife had decided to train as foster parents.

    In 56 Up he spoke of his regret over his lack of a formal education, which he feels limited his income, and talked about his six children and his job as a forklift truck driver. In 63 Up he told how his relationship with his children from his first marriage is improving and he is a proud grandfather-of-10.   

    Paul Kligerman 

    Paul, who lived in a children's home at the age of seven (left) after his parents divorced and he remained with his father, had dreams of becoming a policeman, but worried it would be too hard. Pictured right in 56 Up

    Paul, who lived in a children’s home at the age of seven (left) after his parents divorced and he remained with his father, had dreams of becoming a policeman, but worried it would be too hard. Pictured right in 56 Up

    Paul, who lived in a children’s home at the age of seven after his parents divorced and he remained with his father, had dreams of becoming a policeman, but worried it would be too hard. 

    Soon after 7 Up, his father and stepmother moved the family to Australia. He has remained in the Melbourne area every since, and was seen in 21 Up with long hair and a girlfriend called Sue, whom he later married. By 28 Up, the couple had two children.

    Paul found employment as a bricklayer and went on to set up his own business. By 49 Up, he worked for a sign-making company while he and Sue had two grandchildren. Their daughter Katy was the first member of their family to go to university.

    By 56 Up Paul had started work at a local retirement village, doing odd jobs and maintenance of the small units and gardens. He was reunited with Symon in 21 Up, 49 Up and 63 Up. 

    Suzanne ‘Suzy’ Lusk

    Suzy comes from a wealthy family and was first seen while attending an independent London day school

    Suzy comes from a wealthy family and was first seen while attending an independent London day school

    Suzy comes from a wealthy family and was first seen while attending an independent London day school

    Suzy became a bereavement counsellor whole Rupert is a solicitor in Bath. They went on to have a daughter. Pictured in 56 Up

    Suzy became a bereavement counsellor whole Rupert is a solicitor in Bath. They went on to have a daughter. Pictured in 56 Up

    Suzy comes from a wealthy family and was first seen while attending an independent London day school. Her parents divorced around the time of 7 Plus Seven and she dropped out of school at 16, choosing to travel to Paris.

    She appeared to have developed a negative opinion towards marriage and parenthood in 21 Up, but by 28 Up she had a husband, Rupert Dewey, and two sons, and admitted her marriage brought her optimism and happiness.

    Suzy became a bereavement counsellor whole Rupert is a solicitor in Bath. They went on to have a daughter. 

    She has always expressed moderate disdain for the project, branding it ‘pointless and silly’ in 7 Plus Seven and 21 Up, while she swore she wouldn’t take part again after 49 Up, but did appear in 56 Up out of ‘obligation’. 

    She finally made good on her promise when it came to 63 Up; she refused to take part and Apted resorted to borrowing a phone and ringing her, ‘so she’d think it was someone else’. When he revealed it was him, she put the phone down.

     

    Advertisement
     

    EXCLUSIVE: Man, 28, with cerebral palsy who broke viewers hearts after saying he would ‘rather not be disabled’ on BBC 7Up series reveals he’s ‘stronger than ever’ after overcoming depression 

    At seven, Ryan wanted to be the ‘Bolton Wanderers Manager’ and dreamt of being able to jump. While at 14, was proud that he could jump, but said that ‘if he had the chance he would rather not be disabled’. 

    By 21, he was working hard to become increasingly independent, learning to walk unaided and drive, able to shine at wheelchair rugby and approaching national level. 

    But his life was thrown into turmoil after the latest instalment of the show, when his grandfather died, his father ‘disappeared’ from his life and he was cut from the GB Wheelchair Rugby Talent Squad – plunging him into a deep depression. 

    Ryan, 28, from Bolton, is part of the BBC's ambitious 7Up documentary projects, following the lives of a group of people around the UK every seven years. He is pictured L-R; At the age of seven; 14 and 21

    Ryan, 28, from Bolton, is part of the BBC’s ambitious 7Up documentary projects, following the lives of a group of people around the UK every seven years. He is pictured L-R; At the age of seven; 14 and 21

    Ryan, pictured outside his new home, doesn't think the documentary series is what has driven him to achieve, insisting he would be 'very self motivated' regardless of whether he was being filmed for the documentary

    Ryan, pictured outside his new home, doesn’t think the documentary series is what has driven him to achieve, insisting he would be ‘very self motivated’ regardless of whether he was being filmed for the documentary

    In an exclusive interview with FEMAIL, he revealed that with the support of his beloved mother, friends and family, he has over come his mental health battle and purchased his own property where he lives independently. 

    ‘I feel stronger than I’ve ever been’, he said. ‘More determined than i’ve ever been to achieve certain things. I think i’m more determined to do things now than I was back then.’ 

    Having lived with his mum and her partner for his entire life, in the last instalment of the series, Ryan had set himself a goal to move out on his own. The second episode of the show will see him moving furniture into his brand new property. 

    ‘It’s been absolutely brilliant’, he said. ‘I’ve just landscaped my garden. I’ve got all my furniture in and love being on my own really, having that bit of freedom.

    ‘My mum has been such a support. She comes round and cleans on a Saturday. It’s great. It’s nice to have that support network because it was a big thing, i’d never been on my own before moving out. It was a brand new thing for me.’ 

    While studying Sports Studies at university, Ryan felt he would have struggled to live in halls and so remained at home with his mum and her partner Dave.  

    ‘I think it’s a hard one looking back’, said Ryan. ‘I do regret not doing it, because you hear so many stories of university and people having a good time. At the time I thought my studies would be effected, but I do regret not doing it looking back now.’     

    Shortly after his 21st birthday, Ryan’s father, who featured on the programme when his son was 14, left his partner and ‘disappeared’  – with Ryan saying on the show he believes his dad ‘didn’t want to be a father’. 

    Around the same time Ryan, who had playing in the GB Development Squad and undergoing trials for the Elite Squad was dropped from his team – sending him an email saying ‘I would never develop, never improve’.   

    A year earlier his grandad had died from chronic lung disease, and Ryan says a mixture of these traumas triggered his battle with mental health – starting to have panic attacks at work ‘a couple of times a week’. 

    Ryan admits it's 'very cringey' to look back and see himself as a 'squeaky voiced' seven year old, it's 'great to see how you grow as a person, into an adult and then into a man'. He is pictured aged seven alongside another contributor from Bolton, Gemma

    Ryan admits it’s ‘very cringey’ to look back and see himself as a ‘squeaky voiced’ seven year old, it’s ‘great to see how you grow as a person, into an adult and then into a man’. He is pictured aged seven alongside another contributor from Bolton, Gemma

    While at 14, Ryan was proud that he could jump - a goal he had set himself aged seven - he said that 'if he had the chance he would rather not be disabled'

    While at 14, Ryan was proud that he could jump – a goal he had set himself aged seven – he said that ‘if he had the chance he would rather not be disabled’

    ‘I wouldn’t know why they were happening and I certainly didn’t know why I felt depressed at the time’, he said. 

    ‘They just came on, I had heart palpitations and was really shake and was breathing really heavy and quickly, sweating. It wasn’t nice. 

    ‘They would just come on and last for about half and hour, sometimes an hour, and I would have them at work.’ 

    When his mental health began negatively impacting his career, Ryan decided to seek the help of a councillor – who advised him to speak with his father to discover the reason he walked out of his life.  

    ‘I struggled and I went to a councillor and the councillor didn’t really help’, said Ryan. ‘She basically said to try and speak to your dad to try and get closure on the situation. 

    So I reached out to him and he changed his name on Facebook, and he basically said “It’s all your fault, if you want to get back in touch with me that’s fine, but it’s all your fault”

    ‘That was enough for me to say “I don’t want anything to do with you”. All I wanted was to find out why he did what he did and he couldn’t even explain that.’  

    Eventually Ryan was prescribed with antidepressants, which along with the support from his loved ones, he credits with aiding his two year recovery.

    ‘I think the antidepressants and the support from my family helped me through it’, he said. ‘I think if it wasn’t for my family and my certainly friends – going out having a bit of a laugh – I think I would have really struggled, so I have a lot to thank them for. 

    By 21, (pictured) he was working hard to become increasingly independent, learning to walk unaided and drive, able to shine at wheelchair rugby and approaching national level

    By 21, (pictured) he was working hard to become increasingly independent, learning to walk unaided and drive, able to shine at wheelchair rugby and approaching national level

    Ryan works in the civil service and at the age of 21 (pictured) set himself a goal to become a team leader whether it took 'two years, five years or ten years'

    Ryan works in the civil service and at the age of 21 (pictured) set himself a goal to become a team leader whether it took ‘two years, five years or ten years’

    Ryan was on antidepressants for around two years, while undergoing Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, before he was eventually weened off medication. At 28, his mental health is better than ever and Ryan says he has never felt the need to go back on medication. 

    The series was filmed during the pandemic, and Ryan says that while he coped well while he was living with his mum and her partner, he did ‘struggle a bit’ while living alone in his new house during the second lockdown. 

    ‘When I moved out being in the second lockdown I struggled a little bit, he said. ‘I couldn’t see my friends I couldn’t have my friends round. 

    It was quite a lonely thing really, you’re living on your own and can’t see any of your friends and family, or your mum and partner it’s hard. It is hard.’   

    Ryan works in the civil service and at the age of 21 set himself a goal to become a team leader whether it took ‘two years, five years or ten years’. 

    He has since managed to bag a temporary contract in the position, which he ‘loves’, insisting that he is ‘so determined’ to receive a permeant contract and that ‘nothing is going to stop him from doing it.

    Having lived with his mum (right) and her partner for his entire life, in the last instalment of the series, Ryan had set himself a goal to move out on his own. The second episode of the show will see him moving furniture into his brand new property

    Having lived with his mum (right) and her partner for his entire life, in the last instalment of the series, Ryan had set himself a goal to move out on his own. The second episode of the show will see him moving furniture into his brand new property 

    Ryan, pictured in his new home, says he feels 'stronger than I've ever been. More determined than i've ever been to achieve certain things'

    Ryan, pictured in his new home, says he feels ‘stronger than I’ve ever been. More determined than i’ve ever been to achieve certain things’ 

    ‘When I was 21 I said “In seven years time I want a house” and seven years later I have that house. At the end of this one I said “At the end of seven years I would like to be a team leader” and I’ve got that before the seven years. 

    ‘I’m on track now to having quite a comfortable life, my own house and hopefully seven years time a family’.  

    He doesn’t think the documentary series is what has driven him to achieve, insisting he would be ‘very self motivated’ regardless of whether he was being filmed for the documentary. 

    ‘I know what I want when I want it’, he said. ‘I knew for the house I had to save this amount of money. I would still be having those achievements.’ 

    While he admits it’s ‘very cringey’ to look back and see himself as a ‘squeaky voiced’ seven year old, it’s ‘great to see how you grow as a person, into an adult and then into a man’.  

    Revealing the advice he would give to himself at seven, he said: ‘Keep going, keep trying to achieve. Set yourself goals, that’s a very important thing. You have to set goals – if you don’t set goals you can’t achieve them.’ 

    Episode one of 28 Up: Millenium Generation is on BBC One on Wednesday at 9pm 

    Category:

    celex

    Tags:

    , ,

    Comments are closed.