Shane Meadows and cast on reuniting for This is England ’90 — and why they couldn’t stop crying on set

The show's co-creator joined Vicky McClure, Jo Gilgun and Thomas Turgoose to talk about the (probably) last ever instalment of the series

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It’s 1990 in the final series of This is England, and the nostalgia is in full swing. Acid house raves, bleached bowl cuts and dungarees are everywhere. Shane Meadows and Jack Thorne’s creation—first a film, then a TV series— has spanned over ten years, and now the absorbing show is coming to an end.

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So as the first episode of the new series airs, Meadows plus the cast including Vicky McClure (Lol), Jo Gilgun (Woody) and Thomas Turgoose (Shaun) reveal how they feel now that a decade of This is England is almost over. 

Why did you want to make This is England ’90?

Shane: “The 90s were a really important time in my life. I loved everything that went with it. I got a poncho, and had really weird hair with a ginger tache. And there are things I didn’t have space for in other series that I wanted to do, so many more stories to tell. 

“This series is the most even-handed because it looks into so many living rooms and this is the best the cast has done as a group.”

Vicky: “Woody and I are dysfunctional, we’ve got a baby…but we’re happy.”

Joe: “And it’s about time we were happy rather than the constant f***ing misery we’ve had!”

You’ve been part of the This Is England world for over ten years. How has that affected your lives?

Thomas: “When the casting happened I was at that important age where the people you meet, you grow up with and learn to love a lot which is what I’ve done with all these guys, who I was lucky enough to meet when I was 13. We never really lost contact, and even if we lost contact with one individual you could ring them at no matter what time in the morning if you had troubles, and they’d always still listen to you.”

Joe: “The This is England set is where we all go for a bit of therapy! Those characters are so close to the bone and the lines are so blurred, so bloody personal. It’s been a huge part of my life.” 

How do you feel now that you’re filming the last ever instalment?

Joe: “It’s incredibly moving. All these scenes when people cry, they’re not able to stop crying when the camera stops rolling. We had to keep getting vicky to go on set and calm people down! ” 

Vicky: “It’s heart breaking to think I’ll never play Lol. I love her. It’s hard to describe, we’re a dysfunctional family here. Yeah, I’m an emotional wreck about Lol.”

Would you want to make another series after ’90?

Joe: “F**Ing hell, of course! I’ve got tax to pay! No, but me and Vick have spoken about it a lot, and you don’t want to flog a dead horse. Shameless was a very special thing but at the end it became a f**ing mess…it did us northerners really well but to think we’d do that sort of ending with this…have I been a tw*t there? I feel like I have…”

Shane: “We couldn’t leave ’88 as it was, it just wasn’t the end.  But this time with ’90, I don’t feel I have to come back. But it’s a full stop that’s written in pencil.”

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This is England ’90 airs on Sunday 13th September at 9pm