“… one man in his time plays many parts,”*

*the melancholy Jaques, in Shakespeare’s “As You Like It”

Granada Television first aired the documentary “7 Up!”, directed by Michael Apted, fifty five years ago, in May 1964. Every seven years, he has followed up and interviewed the participants as they grow, mature and age. Apted, a 22 year old researcher at the time of the original programme, was then chiefly concerned with the British class system. Aristotle’s adage: “Give me a child until he is seven and I will show you the man” suggested the beginning of the trajectory.

As Chris Harvey commented in The Telegraph this week (4 June), following the airing of the first of three episodes of “63 Up”, there has been a shift towards “a meditation on life and the individual’s course through it…What have their lives amounted to, and what will our own?”. Harvey rightly comments: “All the participants are ageing, consolidating, thinking about their finances and the remaining possibilities, the people they are going to lose, their own mortality.”.

Symon and Paul had been together in a children’s home in the 1960s. Despite Paul’s settling in Australia, they have maintained a friendship. Symon, with his second wife, has become a committed foster parent. Harvey’s review of the third episode highlighted “a sweet moment when Symon’s wife Susan, said, “I think Symon and Paul are very similar, Symon’s very creative….a beautiful person to be around, and (his wife) Vienetta, her and I are just two peas out of the pod.”.

Bruce at the age of seven said: “My heart’s desire is to see my daddy, who is 6 000 miles away.”. At sixty three, he acknowledged with his wife that, having raised two sons with her, he still has difficulty in expressing his feelings.

“At the start he absolutely needs to live in a circle of love and strength (with consequent tolerance) if he is not to be too fearful of his own thoughts and of his imaginings to make progress in his emotional development.”

― Donald W. Winnicott

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s