Eden councillor to feature in landmark 56 Up TV documentary

The Westmorland Gazette: Neil Hughes Neil Hughes

AN EDEN councillor is to return to Britain’s television screens as one of the stars of a landmark documentary series which has featured the lives of the same group of people for almost half a century.

Neil Hughes, a Liberal Democrat who represents Shap, first appeared in the ITV programme 7 Up in 1964. The original programme, intended to be a one-off World In Action special, followed the lives of a group of children from different backgrounds and social spheres.

The youngsters talked about their hopes and dreams for the future, with young Neil endearing himself to viewers by declaring his ambition to be a NASA astronaut - or a coach driver if NASA would not have him.

Since then his life with all its trials and tribulations has been revealed every seven years in updates of the award-winning series.

In particular, Mr Hughes was shown suffering a series of setbacks in his 20s and 30s and at one point was living rough in a remote bothy in the Scottish Highlands. But subsequent documentaries revealed how he turned his life around.

He moved to Bampton in Eden 12 years ago and threw himself into the local community by doing voluntary charity work and becoming a parish and district councillor.

The latest instalment, 56 Up, to be broadcast over the next three weeks, has been made by director Michael Apted, who made all the previous programmes and who has also directed Hollywood films such as Gorky Park, The World Is Not Enough and Gorillas in the Mist.

Yesterday, Mr Hughes was reluctant to talk about the upcoming documentary, merely observing cryptically: “It has happened as it has happened.” But his participation was praised by Westmorland and Lonsdale MP and Liberal Democrat president Tim Farron.

“I remember seeing Neil in 28 Up and thought then that he was the star of the show - by far the most interesting person on the programme,” said Mr Farron. “Since then the programme has featured the ups and downs of his life and the way he has come through is inspirational.

“Neil is a hard working and serious-minded local councillor. He’s been a huge blessing to Eden and Shap in particular.”

The first of three episodes of 56 Up will be broadcast on Monday (May 14) at 9pm.

Comments (5)

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1:29pm Fri 11 May 12

fellsman says...

Gordon Bennet - Farron's even got to stick his nose in on this - in Eden, not South Lakeland - or is he laying down some roots for the future, if the boundary changes go ahead and he is having to fight the proposed Penrith & Kendal seat. Still Eden's loss will be Windermere and areas gain.
Gordon Bennet - Farron's even got to stick his nose in on this - in Eden, not South Lakeland - or is he laying down some roots for the future, if the boundary changes go ahead and he is having to fight the proposed Penrith & Kendal seat. Still Eden's loss will be Windermere and areas gain. fellsman

1:32pm Fri 11 May 12

laker1 says...

He can't keep his nose out of anything - he's alwasys commenting on events in Ulvesrton, even though it is not in his patch
He can't keep his nose out of anything - he's alwasys commenting on events in Ulvesrton, even though it is not in his patch laker1

5:21pm Sat 12 May 12

zaney5 says...

laker1 wrote:
He can't keep his nose out of anything - he's alwasys commenting on events in Ulvesrton, even though it is not in his patch
What a shame he couldn't help my friend who lives in Ulverston because it WASN'T his patch!
[quote][p][bold]laker1[/bold] wrote: He can't keep his nose out of anything - he's alwasys commenting on events in Ulvesrton, even though it is not in his patch[/p][/quote]What a shame he couldn't help my friend who lives in Ulverston because it WASN'T his patch! zaney5

7:27pm Sat 12 May 12

Ladyxxmacbeth says...

Poor Tim, he really does get a tough deal...I mean you only see him all over the place and on TV and Radio and around South Lakeland, gosh I wish he would do nothing and not comment on anything, and hey just be like those politicians that you never see and dont even know exist...Oh yeah the conservatives!!!
Poor Tim, he really does get a tough deal...I mean you only see him all over the place and on TV and Radio and around South Lakeland, gosh I wish he would do nothing and not comment on anything, and hey just be like those politicians that you never see and dont even know exist...Oh yeah the conservatives!!! Ladyxxmacbeth

7:42am Sun 13 May 12

BabePaleyo says...

Wow, Neil is everyone's favorite, it seems. Mine included. He's very handsome and so intelligent. I'm surprised he's never married, frankly. Maybe he'll find his ideal spouse one day, who knows?

Yes, seeing him pull himself up from homeless to a respected leader is awe-inspiring. I must say that if everyone had their lives recorded like the Up kids and the producers just so happened to catch you during a bad patch so that people felt it defined you for years to come, I doubt they would be as gracious and understanding as Neil and others from the show have been (other than the one who dropped out and tries to sue Apted to remove his footage from future broadcasts...guy, get over yourself)! Neil was a cute little kid who grew up to be a real hero, a great man. I find all of the subjects terribly interesting and compelling, but Neil is hands down the most fascinating.
Wow, Neil is everyone's favorite, it seems. Mine included. He's very handsome and so intelligent. I'm surprised he's never married, frankly. Maybe he'll find his ideal spouse one day, who knows? Yes, seeing him pull himself up from homeless to a respected leader is awe-inspiring. I must say that if everyone had their lives recorded like the Up kids and the producers just so happened to catch you during a bad patch so that people felt it defined you for years to come, I doubt they would be as gracious and understanding as Neil and others from the show have been (other than the one who dropped out and tries to sue Apted to remove his footage from future broadcasts...guy, get over yourself)! Neil was a cute little kid who grew up to be a real hero, a great man. I find all of the subjects terribly interesting and compelling, but Neil is hands down the most fascinating. BabePaleyo

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