This Is England ’90: Shane Meadows has written a perfect period drama

There isn't a corset to be seen but Meadows' award-winning Channel 4 drama captures the Manchester rave scene superbly, says Mark Jefferies

When most people talk about period drama on TV, it normally involves corsets, codpieces and cottages where all sorts of romances and rows take place. But on Channel 4 next month there will be a perfect period drama of sorts that will bring memories flooding back for some viewers.


The dictionary definition of period drama “is a drama set in a particular historical period”. In this case, writer Shane Meadows uses the backdrop of the downfall of Margaret Thatcher, the threat of Saddam Hussein and the Italia World Cup of 1990. 

Four-part series This Is England ’90 sees Meadows with his usual excellent cast including Thomas Turgoose and Vicky McClure exploring the themes of the working class in the Midlands. And on the basis of the opening episode, he has absolutely nailed the Manchester music and rave scene from that period.

I was a youngster in 1990 but I know many millions of people will be able to watch this series and reminisce about the Stone Roses, Happy Mondays and trips up and down the motorway to illegal parties. The backdrop of a struggle for jobs and money will also sadly be familiar.

And while there are no corsets or codpieces, the costumes in this drama are equally as important and the attention to detail is excellent when it comes to the flared jeans, shell suits and bucket hats of the era.

In further good news, the opening episode is by Meadows’ standards a very positive and upbeat piece of television, so there is no excuse not to tune into Channel 4 when it kicks off tomorrow and enjoy a touch of nostalgia. 

Mark Jefferies is Showbiz Editor at the Daily Mirror 

Watch the trailer for This Is England ’90


This Is England returns to Channel 4 on Sunday 13th December at 9pm