Liverpool, 1982, and five former members of a tarmac gang
are struggling to find work in a city hit hard by mounting
unemployment and depression...
From the Black Stuff was Liverpool playwright Alan Bleasdale's
first television series. It chronicled the lives of a group
of tarmac layers - Chrissie, Loggo, Dixie, George and Yosser
- and bitterly dramatised the frustrations suffered by a fruitless
search for work and an antagonistic social security system
a Thatcherite government.
Surprisingly it was Bernard Hill's self-destructive Yosser
Hughes that emerged from the series as the nation's hero.
Even those who have never seen Boys From the Black Stuff
will recognise the name Yosser Hughes, or recall his line:
"gizza job" from the media attention that the character received.
series has many familiar faces including Jean Boht (Bread),
David Ross (who played the original Kryten and Talkie Toaster
in Red Dwarf as well as Mr Weller in Bleasdale's later
work G.B.H.) and Ricky Tomlinson (Cracker and
The Royle Family).
DVD also includes the original Play For Today, The
Black Stuff, which introduces the main characters as they
set out to make a profit from a freelance contract. This also
commentary by writer Alan Bleasdale and director Jim Goddard.
series is not as strong as the original The Black Stuff,
which saw the characters bonding. In fact, the series itself
is a lot bleaker and each episode looks at a different characters
life - just a shame that Loggo's story wasn't told as he was
certainly one of the more colourful characters.
the series has aged gracefully, there are enough out of date
styles to make you cringe on more than a few occasions. However,
this is still one of the greatest British dramas ever made.
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