15 user 5 critic

This Life 

A series following the lives of Miles, Milly, Warren, Egg and Anna, five young professionals.


Amy Jenkins
4,426 ( 338)




2   1  
1997   1996  
4 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »




Series cast summary:
Jack Davenport ...  Miles Stewart 32 episodes, 1996-1997
Amita Dhiri ...  Milly Nassim 32 episodes, 1996-1997
Andrew Lincoln ...  Edgar 'Egg' Cook 32 episodes, 1996-1997
Daniela Nardini ...  Anna Forbes 32 episodes, 1996-1997
Luisa Bradshaw-White ...  Kira 31 episodes, 1996-1997
David Mallinson ...  Michael O'Donnell / ... 31 episodes, 1996-1997
Steve John Shepherd ...  Jo 31 episodes, 1996-1997
Cyril Nri Cyril Nri ...  Graham 22 episodes, 1996-1997
Ramon Tikaram ...  Ferdy 21 episodes, 1996-1997
Gillian McCutcheon Gillian McCutcheon ...  Therapist 21 episodes, 1996-1997
Natasha Little ...  Rachel 20 episodes, 1997
Jason Hughes ...  Warren Jones 19 episodes, 1996-1997
Geoffrey Bateman ...  Hooperman / ... 17 episodes, 1996-1997
Juliet Cowan ...  Nicki 15 episodes, 1997
Sacha Craise Sacha Craise ...  Kelly 13 episodes, 1996-1997


A series following the lives of Miles, Milly, Warren, Egg and Anna, five young professionals.

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Did You Know?


Jason Hughes plays Warren Jones. He went on to play the character Ben Jones in Midsomer Murders. Jones is the most common surname in Wales. See more »


Egg: I need a shag.
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Featured in I Love the 1990s: I Love 1996 (2001) See more »


This Life Theme
Written by Mark Anderson and Cliff Freeborn
Performed by The Way Out
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User Reviews

Mixed feelings about this important British drama series...
21 May 2002 | by HenryHextonEsqSee all my reviews

Ah, now here's a series I am in a few minds about, and that I have changed my mind over over time. I feel that the seemingly universal tide of praise this show gets needs a little tempering.

It was generally well written, but rarely brilliant. The acting likewise was mostly good in a naturalistic way, with Andrew Lincoln good as Egg, veering between genuinely likeable and a little irritating, Jason Hughes as Warren proving the making of the show in many ways; a well-written gay character impressively acted. Definitely pointed the way to "Queer as Folk" to some degree. Daniella Nardini was of course, a delicious, refreshing presence, though I do feel the character became a bit of a self-parody in some of the later episodes of the long Series Two. Likewise to some extent, Miles becomes less interesting as the overlong Series Two goes on, though overall Jack Davenport does a good job in portraying an infuriating, smug cad. Natasha Little I do like, but then that's my own peculiar penchant for her strangely alluring ice maiden, the subtle "bitch" they just call "Rachel"... ;-) On the whole it was good ensemble acting, certainly a lot better than in the shows imitating "This Life".

While you may feel it a mite unfair, I would bring up the show's influence on British TV since it finished in 1997, with endless shows hung up over largely Southern middle-class repellants. Largely, these shows have duller characters and more annoying dialogue than "This Life", and I am talking "Teachers" and that neurotic, depressing, incredibly po-faced, glorified soap "Attachments". Only "Queer as Folk" can stand as a good programme, but then that was in many ways a far more groundbreaking series than "This Life", even if it too did suffer some diminishing returns with its follow-up special. Suffice it to say that the writers and actors of "This Life" have been involved in quite a few things since, but well, not too many TV programmes I can put names to. Amy Jenkins, the show's creator, but not actually the script writer of too many episodes, has claimed a large amount of the credit for it, and went on to do some badly received work in the film and novel fields.

It certainly is a question; how groundbreaking was "This Life"? I doubt you could say it alone "led the way" in breaking more taboos as regarding language, sexuality and sex itself, though perhaps it became in a sense "the programme of a generation", attracting a youth audience that perhaps hadn't been so targeted by drama series before. Oh, and of course, it "pioneers" in jerky, neurotic camerawork. Pioneering perhaps in the context of British TV drama, but then what about Woody Allen's 1992 film, "Husbands and Wives"?

Mention of that film indeed prompts me to reflect that "This Life" lacked a sustained wit... yes, at times Anna and Warren are witty characters in a waspish vein, but... well, I suppose this goes with the territory of drama that is primarily going for realism, trying to capture the behaviour of mid-twenties professionals. I do get the impression that "This Life" will to some extent date, and will not have quite the same impact as it did on a first viewing, back in 1996-97.

I was a massive fan of it then, but can now see its faults a little more objectively. Series One I believe still stands up very well, with the show still fresh and unlike Series Two, actually focusing a bit on their actual work as lawyers, rather than just their personal lives. When Warren leaves in Series Two it goes downhill, with perhaps the endless agonizing of Milly over Rachel and some newer characters not quite interesting so much. I feel it became too much of a superior middle class soap, too predictable and set in its ways. Yes, the last episode is a corker in many respects. It actually does tie it up in a satisfying manner - where *would* it have gone from there?! Though that's not quite so compelling a question as with "Twin Peaks"' ending. It's a fine, revitalizing episode to the series, but by no means one of the few best episodes of UK TV television - heck, has no one seen "The Singing Detective", "Edge of Darkness", "The Prisoner", "Shooting the Past", "GBH" or "Brass Eye"? Anyway, while I would certainly accept that "This Life" defined a particular era in a way, it was a limited drama series, certainly no work of genius or great invention. Good television, but perhaps not so lasting television.

Rating:- *** 1/2/*****

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World Productions [UK]





Release Date:

17 November 1998 (USA) See more »

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This Life See more »

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