The generation-spanning documentary series Up, which has followed the lives of the same group of contributors every seven years since they were 7 years old, is set to return to BBC One and BBC iPlayer this fall.
A two-parter, 28Up Millennium Generation is the fourth installment of the series, which launched in 2000. Made by Multistory Media, Up is directed by Julian Farino (Giri/Haji), with Melanie Archer (Race for the White House) serving as producer.
Over 20 years in the making, the films are a celebration of ordinary lives and offer a hopeful and optimistic account of what it means to be a British millennial. The children hail from Cornwall, the Inner Hebrides, Liverpool, London and beyond, and come from a diverse range of backgrounds.
At 28 in 2021, some have found fame, started new careers and fallen in love. Members of the group have also dealt with mental health issues, bereavement and broken dreams. The overriding theme of 28Up is that they have become more comfortable in themselves and less apologetic about their opinions and choices.
Farino said: “I have worked extensively in drama, but there is something uniquely special about filming the 7Up series over these last 21 years. To befriend and watch people grow up on film is extraordinary and is an absolute privilege. What I love about the 7Up series is that it celebrates the lives of ordinary people. It shows that every life has its challenges and dramas, and it is incredible to see both continuity and change in personality. It makes it impossible not to reflect on one’s own life.”
BBC documentaries Commissioning Editor Emma Loach said: “We are thrilled to announce that the celebrated Up series will be returning to BBC One later this month with 28Up Millennium Generation. Seven years on from the last installment, our fully matured protagonists now find themselves catapulted into adult life and having to adapt to a sharply competitive world, increased responsibilities and fresh challenges brought on by a global pandemic. Most often, the best television is comprised from the stories of real people, and the Up series offers the most intimate insights into the contrasting lives of 14 exceptional individuals in the U.K., providing the perfect narrative on what it is like to grow up today in this country”.
Archer said: “We’ve known our contributors now for 21 years and grow closer to them with every installment—so each time it matters even more that we do it right. It’s what makes the project so special and unique; it’s both a privilege and a huge responsibility. Our contributors didn’t choose to be in the spotlight, and most would actively run away from it. But they believe in us, the filmmakers, and in the power of the project to document their ordinary lives—we all feel privileged to be part of this unique extended ‘family.’”