Michael Sheen appeared on this show to talk about the “7 Up” series of films, which started in 1964 and followed the lives of a group of British children from different backgrounds into adulthood. Michael discusses his memories of watching the series, and his own childhood.
A compilation of clips of Michael’s contributions to the show:
Michael Sheen: The older they get, the more we just connect to the sweep of what it is to be a human being.
Boy 1: Financial Times
Boy 2: I read Observer and The Times. I usually look at the headlines, then read about…it
M: about it!
M: That little fella is in here somewhere. Um, but just with a lot of foliage, now!
Well it was very particular for me at seven, because I lived for three years not in Wales. So I went to live in the Liverpool area between five and eight, in Wallasey and Birkenhead. I was at the height of my obsession with football at that point. Seven years old, Kevin Keegan played with the number seven on his back for Liverpool, he was my hero, Liverpool was my team, I used to go and watch them play.
Football commentator: Keegan’s goal is almost inevitable.
And I realised, when I was seven, I spoke with a Scouse accent, I was like ‘alright, alright!’. And, er, so that was very specific for three years I had sounded like that.
I was very cheeky, very cheeky seven year old, and having that Liverpool accent as well just added to that cheekiness. In fact I had such a strong accent, my parents had to send me to elocution lessons because they couldn’t understand anything I said!
Joanna Lumley: It wasn’t only Tony and Seb who dreamt of a sporting career:
M: My chance to go…to take football into becoming a career came at about 12, and it didn’t happen, because it would have meant moving to London when I was 12, and my Mum and Dad were like you can’t do that, and we’re not gonna move to London, so that’s not gonna happen. Because Arsenal had sort of been interested in me. I didn’t know at the time, that I’d had this offer, and my parents knew. And I overheard my parents telling friends of theirs, I was behind a door, and I was very sneakily listening to what was going on. And I heard what had happened and I was both elated, because it was everything I wanted at that time, and horrified, you know, that it wasn’t gonna happen.
Narrator: …because this year they are 21, what are they doing now? How have they changed? What sort of people are they?
M: As something that started off as very much consciously a political exploration about class, I think around 21 up it had stopped being political and become much more personal instead.
I recently saw an interview with myself from around 21, I got my first job and a local news station from Wales came down to London to interview me.
Baby Michael: well the play is called When She Danced, and it’s set in Paris in 1923, and it’s set in the house of Isadora Duncan.
M: If I saw that version of myself, I would run up to him and punch him in the face! I mean just horrendous!
BM: …who is the woman who revolutionised the whole of modern dance really I suppose.
M: on the basis of that, I’m very glad I never did anything like this, because…oh boy!
BM: Well my mother and father always used to say, um, they always used to wonder where they’d have to come to see me in my first show, thought it would be somewhere, in some church hall somewhere, miles and miles away.
M: So I’m glad I haven’t had to do it, but I’m very glad they did!
M: You see him living in that little caravan… that background, I mean it’s just absolutely raw with him…
M: The older they get, it becomes more and more moving, what life has dealt to these people.
Much more than just a story that you follow, I mean it really means something to me now, because I identify so much with these people.