‘Our Friends in the North’ is coming back, but with a twist

The writer of classic drama Our Friends in the North is reviving the drama for the BBC.

Our Friends in the North originally aired on BBC Two in 1996.

The acclaimed TV series helped launch the careers of Christopher Eccleston (Doctor Who), Gina McKee (Bodyguard), Mark Strong (The Imitation Game), and James Bond actor Daniel Craig.

Set from 1964 to 1995, its nine episodes told the story of four friends from Newcastle upon Tyne, and incorporated political and social events from the period.

Original writer Peter Flannery is now bringing back Our Friends in the North as an audio drama for BBC Radio 4 next month.

The upcoming radio series will conclude with a brand new tenth episode from writer Adam Usden, bringing the story into modern times.

BBC Radio 4’s revival will introduce an all-new cast, including James Baxter, Norah Lopez Holden, Philip Correia, and Luke MacGregor as Nicky, Mary, Tosker and Geordie.

Original cast members Tracey Wilkinson and Trevor Fox are back, however, but in new roles.

Our Friends in the North will tackle “corporate, political and police corruption in the 1960s, the rise and fall of the Soho porn empires in the 1970s, the nouveau riche and the Miners’ Strike of the 1980s, and the rise of New Labour in the 1990s.”

The new final episode by Manchester-born writer Adam Usden will be set in Newcastle in 2020.

Usden commented: “The show was defiantly, wonderfully unsentimental. One of the things I loved was that even when people failed in the immediate moment, very often we saw how flashes of kindness, warmth and moral courage redeem them in surprising ways, sometimes decades later, even if the people never realised the impact their actions had on others.”

Alison Hindell, Radio 4 Commissioning Editor for Drama and Fiction added: “It is exciting to welcome back such an iconic drama and further still to offer a new instalment.

“With its themes illuminating the continuing ‘North-South divide’ today, this powerful and well-loved saga is told by a committed and talented team, many from the North of England themselves, whose passion for the story is self-evident. It will be warmly welcomed by fans and a chance for discovery by a new audience too.”

Our Friends in the North begins on BBC Radio 4 at 2.15pm on Thursday 17th March.

Listeners can also catch up on demand on the BBC Sounds app.

The original Our Friends in the North series is available to watch on Amazon Prime Video.