"Give me the child until he is seven and I will give you the man." That was the premise when, nearly fifty years ago, 14 seven-year-olds from a range of backgrounds were filmed as part of a groundbreaking social documentary to explore what effect a child's social class had on their future. Film crews were despatched to capture the hopes and aspirations of their subjects, following their lives then and in seven-year updates ever since. On 14 May the latest installment, 56 Up, hits our screens but what do we know about the returning castmembers? Sue Davis, Jackie Bassett and Lynn Johnson
Chosen as a group of East End school friends, the girls kept in touch and have been filmed together ever since the first episode. Sue and Jackie have been married and divorced, with the latter shown in 49 Up suffering from severe rheumatoid arthritis and living on benefits. Aged 7, Lynn wanted to work in Woolworths but ended up a children’s librarian. She has battled a life-threatening brain condition and in the last episode lost the job she’d dutifully held for 30 years. Tony Walker
Aged seven Tony was also living in East London, aspiring to be a jockey. The series has since shown the brief realisation of his dreams, once racing against Lester Piggott, before he gave it all up to become a taxi driver. In 35 Up Tony admitted his struggles with a monogamous relationship and by 42 Up he had famously confessed to cheating on his wife, Debbie, who chose to stand by him. 49 Up showed them as grandparents and proud owners of a house in Spain. Paul Kligerman and Symon Basterfield
Paul and Symon began the series at the same charity boarding school. Paul soon emigrated to Australia with his family where he eventually married and had a daughter while Symon, son of a white mother and absent black father, overcame an impoverished childhood to marry and have six children. Now divorced and re-married, he works as a freight handler at Heathrow and has spent the last 14 years fostering over 65 children. Neil Hughes and Peter Davies
Neil and Peter attended the same Liverpool suburban school. Peter was seen aged 28 married and teaching at a school in Leicester, but following his disparaging remarks about the Thatcher government and the subsequent tabloid campaign against him, he lost his job and hasn’t taken further part in the series, until now. Neil was first filmed as a lively seven-year-old with dreams of becoming an astronaut, but the past 49 years have seen him drop out of Aberdeen University before living in a London squat and spending his thirties homeless or on council estates in Scotland. With the help of fellow participant, Bruce, 42 Up showed Neil regaining his stability as a Liberal Democrat councillor in Hackney, before finishing third in the 2010 general election as the Liberal Democrat candidate for Carlisle. Nick Hitchon
Farmer’s son Nick from the Yorkshire Dales attended a local school before going to Oxford University. After marrying Jackie, 35 Up filmed them living in America where Nick was a professor at a university. The couple had a son but were divorced by 49 Up with Nick’s new wife Cryss set to appear in the upcoming episode, 56 Up. Suzy Lusk and Bruce Balden
Both Suzy and Bruce were chosen from affluent boarding schools. Suzy married a successful lawyer and worked as a bereavement councillor while Bruce graduated from Oxford before teaching first in Bangladesh and then in a tough school in London's East End. He is now married to Penny with two sons and teaches maths at St Albans school. He has remained friends with Neil Hughes, who stayed in his apartment and attended his wedding. John Brisby, Andrew Brackfield and Charles Furneaux
The three boys were chosen from the same wealthy pre-preparatory school in Kensington, introduced to viewers singing “Waltzing Matilda” in Latin in the first episode. Charles has worked in journalism, producing films including ‘Touching the Void’ but opted out of the series after 21 Up, even threatening to sue director Michael Apted for refusing to remove him from archived sequences in 49 Up. John and Andrew headed for Oxbridge before carving out successful careers in law, with the latter the only one of the three to appear in every episode.