1984+6
October 31, 2018 3:32 AM   Subscribe

 
Episode 8 'Non-Citizen'

The post is missing tags for 'Brexit' and 'Documentary'; apart from that, looks interesting.
posted by Wordshore at 6:19 AM on October 31, 2018 [8 favorites]


So... preview of post-Brexit Britain?

Also, Wilfred Greatorex is a name made for sci-fi.
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:19 AM on October 31, 2018 [1 favorite]


For at least part of the series, the country is on a three-day working week.
That doesn't sound so bad.
posted by PHINC at 6:34 AM on October 31, 2018 [2 favorites]


This series has some parallels with 84K, Claire North's rather chilling recent novel. It's a great read if a sort of free-market 1984 with bits of 1930s Germany is your sort of read.
posted by pipeski at 6:37 AM on October 31, 2018 [1 favorite]


Edward Woodward would be in this, wouldn't he?

I've never heard of this show before now, but watching the first one, I'm struck by how much the opening credits remind me of the cover art on a Pan or Panther paperback from the same period.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:42 AM on October 31, 2018 [1 favorite]


Also this picture of Barbara Kellerman is a fucking look.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:49 AM on October 31, 2018 [4 favorites]


'Ordeal by Small Brown Envelope'
That’s the most 1970s British TV dystopia title ever.
posted by Artw at 7:29 AM on October 31, 2018 [12 favorites]


So... preview of post-Brexit Britain?

Well, the villain here is the "union-dominated socialist government" and "State ownership of businesses appears to be near-total and prohibition of wealth and income appears to be very high". So it's like the exact opposite of what's happening now?
posted by EndsOfInvention at 7:39 AM on October 31, 2018 [6 favorites]


So... preview of post-Brexit Britain?

The official title you're looking for is Children of Men.
posted by Juso No Thankyou at 7:49 AM on October 31, 2018 [8 favorites]


I've gotten to the point in the first ep where a woman listening to the Home Secretary rant about parasites says, "Oh, switch him off!" and I feel utter, total sympathy with her.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:57 AM on October 31, 2018 [1 favorite]


So... preview of post-Brexit Britain?

I'm saying nothing... but yeah this is very much a pre-Thatcherite view of a possible dystopian future when the unions were much more powerful.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 8:01 AM on October 31, 2018 [1 favorite]


"For at least part of the series, the country is on a three-day working week.
That doesn't sound so bad."

So even in this dystopia, people figured we'd have fair work weeks by now... yet here I am with another 2 goddamn days of work left to do before week's end. Sometimes I think we're just the dystopia and are too close to it to see it for what it is.
posted by GoblinHoney at 8:03 AM on October 31, 2018 [2 favorites]


three-day working week.

If you count unemployed, fake unemployed (eg poor sods on workfare and other schemes), those on zero hours contracts, part-time people who want a full time job and the underemployed self-employed scraping by, I wouldn't be surprised if the UK probably averages out to a three day week now, only folks ain't getting paid for the other two days.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 8:14 AM on October 31, 2018 [2 favorites]


EndsOfInvention: "Well, the villain here is the "union-dominated socialist government" and "State ownership of businesses appears to be near-total and prohibition of wealth and income appears to be very high". So it's like the exact opposite of what's happening now?"

That sounds a lot like Burgess's 1985
posted by octothorpe at 8:35 AM on October 31, 2018


I watched this last year when it popped up on DVD. I wouldn't call it a post-Brexit Britain exactly but the dystopia it presents may echo some of the post-Brexit conditions, such as economic collapse, brain drain & loss of civil liberties.

Woodward is good in this, as he usually is I think, and I found the show not overly heavy in infodump as a lot of the details of the dystopia come from conversations and situations rather than one-sided exposition. Saying that it is a dramatic show rather than an action oriented one so some people may find it "slow". It worked for me and I thought the world was well thought through. It is a world where "bureaucracy has run riot" and civil liberties have all but disappeared. Though they have 3 day work week it has more to do with conserving energy and "job sharing" then it does for any concern for the worker.
posted by Ashwagandha at 8:57 AM on October 31, 2018


For those unfamiliar, the Three-Day Week was a real thing in 70s Britain.
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 9:49 AM on October 31, 2018 [1 favorite]


It's sadly disappeared from YouTube, but The Donati Conspiracy was a great 3-part BBC drama along similar lines.
posted by carsondial at 11:22 AM on October 31, 2018


The 70s fear of BUREAUCRACY as this overwhelming force of crushing evil seems pretty quaint now - oh no! You might have to fill in a form! - but I guess it occupies the same place that having your life manipulated by some corporations shitty machine learning algorithm without possibility of human intervention would now.

Still “there’s unions, and rich people have to obey regulations!” Sounds pretty damn idyllic right now.
posted by Artw at 11:39 AM on October 31, 2018 [1 favorite]


The three-day week also got floated as a DON'T VOTE LABOUR OR LOOK WHERE WE'LL END UP! scenario in some conversations around the last election. But I think in general the 70s as horrific worst-case scenario does not really work with a post-Thatcher generation.
"Corbyn and McDonnell will take us back to the 70s! Do you WANT a Britain of powerful unions? high taxes? British Rail?????"
"...yes?"
posted by Catseye at 12:33 PM on October 31, 2018 [3 favorites]


Andy Beckett's When The Lights Went Out: Britain In The Seventies alleges that actually, in the seventies, employment and social equality were better than they have been since, and that Thatcher's whole "Labor Isn't Working" bit was not only partisan hackery but just a total lie. I mean, the book does make clear that the three day week, brownouts, the Troubles and so on were unpleasant to live through, but Beckett does seem to suggest that we've naturalized all the awful stuff that happened with Thatcher and afterward, as though deindustrialization and the collapse of the North and benefit cuts and cutting the NHS were somehow ipso facto better than three day weeks and strikes.

When The Lights Went Out also gave me a total fascination with Edward Heath, surely one of the strangest modern UK politicians.

~~
There's quite a lot of seventies "the future will be the worst of communism plus the worst of capitalism" science fiction (although this particular one sounds like it's actually just plain conservative). Ursula Le Guin wrote one called The New Atlantis, and then there is famously 334. It's a great lesson in how science fiction is not actually predictive except by coincidence - in retrospect we end up thinking "why did they believe that the state would bother to take care of anyone"?
posted by Frowner at 12:56 PM on October 31, 2018 [6 favorites]


The 70s fear of BUREAUCRACY as this overwhelming force of crushing evil seems pretty quaint now - oh no! You might have to fill in a form! -

There's definitely a "What if it was always the Winter of Discontent and no one could leave?" vibe to it. Also brings to mind Jarman's Jubliee (Released Feb 1978) and Quatermass (24 October – 14 November 1979).
posted by octobersurprise at 1:02 PM on October 31, 2018




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