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  1. ITV Report

'56 Up', the lives documented on camera

The latest instalment of ITV’s landmark documentary series returns to visit the people whose lives have been followed since they were just seven-years-old.

The original '7 Up' was broadcast in 1964 as a one-off World in Action Special featuring children chosen from different backgrounds to talk about their hopes and dreams for the future.

Seven-year-old Tony returns to the series reveal how life has unfolded Credit: ITV

The series was inspired by World in Action founder editor Tim Hewat’s interest in both the saying: "Give me the child until he is seven and I will show you the man," and the rigid class system of 1960s Britain

7 Up set out to discover whether or not the children’s lives were pre-determined by their background.

Director Michael Apted, who has since moved to Hollywood to direct films including 'The World Is Not Enough', 'The Chronicles of Narnia' and 'Gorillas in the Mist', has returned every seven years to chart the children’s progress through life.

Director, Michael Apted Credit: Reuters

Researching 7 Up was my first job, 56 Up is currently my latest, so this project has spanned my working life. It has been a unique and fulfilling experience, the one I treasure most in my career.

– Michael Apted, Director
Follow-up films in the series have won an array of awards Credit: ITV

Over the past six decades, the series has documented the group as they have become adults and entered middle-age, dealing with everything life has thrown at them in between.

Now, called '56 Up', the series is back to discover what has happened to the group over the last seven years.

Among them is Tony.

  • He is the London cabbie who at the age of seven dreamed of being a jockey.
  • At 42 Up, Tony confessed that he had been cheating on his wife, Debbie, but she said she would stand by her husband
  • At 49 Up the couple revealed that their marriage had survived, they had become grandparents and the proud owners of a home in Spain

ITV London has more about '56 Up'. The programme is on ITV1, on Monday May 14th at 9pm.