Claud Seabrook – Arthur Fieldson – Ron Conrad

Four friends in Newcastle have the strands of their lives interwoven with the political and economic events over three decades. Superficially it’s a nine hour film about housing, but it’s much more than that.

The Labour Party, corruption in public life and housing, the rise and fall of T. Dan Smith (Mr Newcastle), John Poulson and Reginald Maudling, sleaze in Soho, corruption in the Met, the Tories rise to power, the violence and politics of the Miners’ strike in 1984 to name but a few of the political events covered.

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Four friends in Newcastle have the strands of their lives interwoven with the political and economic events over three decades. Superficially it’s a nine hour film about housing, but it’s much more than that.

The Labour Party, corruption in public life and housing, the rise and fall of T. Dan Smith (Mr Newcastle), John Poulson and Reginald Maudling, sleaze in Soho, corruption in the Met, the Tories rise to power, the violence and politics of the Miners’ strike in 1984 to name but a few of the political events covered.

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Eddie Wells and Nicky Hutchinson talking

Four friends in Newcastle have the strands of their lives interwoven with the political and economic events over three decades. Superficially it’s a nine hour film about housing, but it’s much more than that.

The Labour Party, corruption in public life and housing, the rise and fall of T. Dan Smith (Mr Newcastle), John Poulson and Reginald Maudling, sleaze in Soho, corruption in the Met, the Tories rise to power, the violence and politics of the Miners’ strike in 1984 to name but a few of the political events covered.

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Mary and Tosker at Willow Lane Flats

Four friends in Newcastle have the strands of their lives interwoven with the political and economic events over three decades. Superficially it’s a nine hour film about housing, but it’s much more than that.

The Labour Party, corruption in public life and housing, the rise and fall of T. Dan Smith (Mr Newcastle), John Poulson and Reginald Maudling, sleaze in Soho, corruption in the Met, the Tories rise to power, the violence and politics of the Miners’ strike in 1984 to name but a few of the political events covered.

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MaryNicky

Four friends in Newcastle have the strands of their lives interwoven with the political and economic events over three decades. Superficially it’s a nine hour film about housing, but it’s much more than that.

The Labour Party, corruption in public life and housing, the rise and fall of T. Dan Smith (Mr Newcastle), John Poulson and Reginald Maudling, sleaze in Soho, corruption in the Met, the Tories rise to power, the violence and politics of the Miners’ strike in 1984 to name but a few of the political events covered.

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Mary explains Alan Roe’s plan – Elaine looks like thunder

“Let those who want to buy, buy. Let those who want to rent, rent, but what will they rent if I’ve sold all the council houses?” asks Mary of her replacement, Elaine.

“Well, why not use the proceeds to build more council houses?” replies Elaine.

“Because a) I have to sell them dirt cheap, and b) I’m only allowed to use half the proceeds to build replacement houses.” – replies Mary. “The other half has to finance a reduction in the rates.”

This exchange is one of the reasons OFITN might fairly be described as a Northern housing drama. The above exchange is one of many examples illustrating the effect the housing situation had on its residents, from the shoddy system built flats of the 1960s through to the Thatcherite push for home ownership via right to buy and its concomitant effect on the declining estates and their residents signified here by the desperate situation of Sean Collins at Valley View.

The scene near the end in the bar, between Geordie, Sean Collins, a young lad of 10 or 11 and his dad Christopher – is one of the most moving and powerful in the entire film, and the empathy shown by Geordie towards Sean, says a lot for his strength of character, his own life having suffered hours dreadful and things strange to say the least.

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Krystle

“It’s actually a kitchen by itself” exclaimed the delightful Krystle as she stood in the 1000 sq ft Forest Hill ground floor flat and looked around her at the space.

“We could put a table in here” said Sam thus proving once again, if it needs proving, that separate kitchens with space for a table are a practical necessity welcomed by buyers and shouldn’t be a sought after luxury omitted by greedy developers unwilling to build walls in modern flats.

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