In 1964 a group of seven-year old children were interviewed for the documentary “Seven Up.” They’ve been filmed every seven years since. NOW THEY ARE 56.
The Up Series by Michael Apted is one of the most fascinating documents of the human existence. It was started in 1964 by Granada Television as a showcase of fourteen children from different socio and economic backgrounds of Britain. Michael Apted was a researcher on the program (called Seven Up!) and selected the children with the help of Gordon McDougall. The director of Seven Up! was Paul Almond and the opening of the program gives us an idea of the goal, “Why do we bring these children together? Because we want to get a glimpse of England in the year 2000. The union leader and the business executive of the year 2000 are now seven years old.” That idea is actually based on the Jesuit teachings of Francis Xavier, “Give me a child until he is seven and I will give you the man.” Seven years after Seven Up! Michael Apted followed up with the participants in Seven Plus Seven (1971) and has ever seven years since. Not all fourteen kids have participated in every single installment, Charles bowed out after 21 Up (1977) and hasn’t participated since. Peter claimed that he was done with the project after 28 Up (1984), but thankfully he came back for 56 Up. John missed 28 Up & 42 Up (1998), and Symon skipped 35 Up (1991), and with the exception of Charles, everyone showed up for 56 Up. This is probably due to maturity. The importance and relevance of the program has revealed itself, and now they embrace it closer than they ever could before.