It's 1986 - the year Chris de Burgh is at number one, Top Gun is filling the cinemas, VHS is trumping Betamax, the World Cup is raging in Mexico and over 3.4 million Brits are unemployed.
As Shaun (Thomas Turgoose) sits his last school exam, the realisation dawns that adulthood beckons and in mid-80s England he's going to have to find his own way in the world. Luckily life has dealt a surprise hand to his friends too and no one is quite where they thought they would be. Woody, Lol, Smell, Gadget, Milky - they are all looking for love, a laugh, a job and something that resembles a future.
Shane on the genesis of This Is England '86:
"When I finished This Is England I had a wealth of material and unused ideas that I felt very keen to take further audiences seemed to really respond to the characters we created and out of my long standing relationship with Film4 and Channel 4 the idea for a television serial developed. Not only did I want to take the story of the gang broader and deeper, I also saw in the experiences of the young in 1986 many resonances to now - recession, lack of jobs, a sense of the world at a turning point. Whereas the film told part of the story, the TV serial will tell the rest."
IInteresting cameos in the series include:
Co-writer Jack Thorne appears as party-animal, Carrot Bum.
Shane Meadows is a member of staff at Woody's workplace (a full scene with Shane is a deleted scene on the DVD)
Ian Brown and producer Mark Herbert play policemen in the big fight scene.
Shane's Dad plays the part of Combo's new cell-mate.
During the writing stage, the project was titled "We Were Faces"
The dialogue and story for the character of Harvey was originally written for the character of Pukey, but Jack O'Connell (who played Pukey in This Is England) was unable to work on the project due to other acting commitments.
The entire series was written by Shane and Jack Thorne.
The series was directed by both Shane and Tom Harper. Tom directed episodes one and two, and Shane directed episodes three and four.
Plans for the international distribution of the series include releasing it as two feature films in certain countries. Episodes one and two will be combined to make the first film, and episodes three and four will be combined to make the second film.
LINKS .... (visit the MEDIA page for audio and video links).
Jo Hartley Milky
Parry Benson Mick
Johnny Harris Harvey
Michael Socha Mr Sandhu
Kriss Dosanjh Flip
Perry Fitzpatrick Trudy
Hannan Walters Chrissy
Katherine Dow Blyton
Episode one with Tom Harper, Jack Thorne and Thomas Turgoose.
Episode three with Mark Herbert and Shane Meadows.