In praise of Seven Up

In praise of Seven Up

“Give me a child up to the age of seven and I will show you the man”. Seven Up, the extraordinarily good, long-running Granada TV documentary series, is based on that Jesuit maxim. It’s now reached 56 Up, and I can hardly wait to see the current series’ second episode tonight.

I first saw Seven Up in 1984, when the participants had reached the age of 28. I was a teenager at the time, and was immediately captivated. Like anyone else watching the show, I was drawn to almost all of the seven-year olds (the programme always shows lengthy excepts from the original 1964 series), the exception being one precocious prep school boy, who claimed to read the Financial Times every day. Oh, and to my shame, I was completely wrong about Neil, who was adorably likeable at seven. I thought he’d go on to achieve great things, but he seems to have gone through most of his life as an introspective waster.

Seven Up is an example of how television can be not only unmissable, but can reach parts of our society and culture, and tell us about our country and its development, that any other medium would find impossible.

So next time you look at the TV schedules and bemoan the fact that it’s wall-to-wall dross, try not to be too depressed. Remember that TV is capable of throwing up the odd gem as well.


Article date

May 21st, 2012

Robert Taylor

Media Trainer


My main passion is media training, and I’m proud to be one of the UK’s most experienced and successful trainers in this field.

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