TV Times talks to Alan Davies about revisiting his suburban upbringing and meeting his teen idols for a new three-part documentary series Teenage Revolution (opens in new tab) (C4, Thurs, Sept 9)... So what is the documentary like? “Some of the show is funny, some of it isn’t funny.” You try to interview the publicity-shy Paul Weller? “It’s the shortest interview ever, but quite a funny sequence.” Who were your heroes in your youth? “Neil and Glenys Kinnock are two of my favourite people. They are so impressive, so intelligent, and so articulate. They have a real ideological base from which to view any situation and put it in a historical context. They got a brutal press.” What was it like revisiting your youth? “It was fascinating. I went back to places where I grew up, met old friends from school, college and university, and talk about all the things that I got up to – so you get a view of suburban life in the 1980s through important figures of the time, and my own experiences. It is a kind of social history show.” What prompted you to do it? “The series is based on a book I wrote called My Favourite People And Me, but Teenage Revolution is a much better title. That’s what we’re going to call the paperback! I met some of the people I wrote about in the book, people like Neil Kinnock, the singer Billy Bragg and the playwright David Hare. There are also some people that I didn’t like – so I interviewed the former Tory minister Norman Tebbit, which was very interesting!” What do you think about the youngsters of today? “I like them, I think teenagers are great and get a bad press. When you are that age, the records you listen to, the films that you watch, the books that you read – they stay with you for the rest of your life. The internet has transformed the lives of teenagers, their lives are unrecognisable now. And I hate the fact that kids get ferried around in massive cars and sit in front of screens, rather than playing out or doing sports. Katy my wife and I talk about it, how we are, you know, going to mess up our kid (Susie) in our own special way. But I’ll try to give her a free and happy childhood...”
Patrick McLennan is a London-based journalist and documentary maker who has worked as a writer, sub-editor, digital editor and TV producer in the UK and New Zealand. His CV includes spells as a news producer at the BBC and TVNZ, as well as web editor for Time Inc UK. He has produced TV news and entertainment features on personalities as diverse as Nick Cave, Tom Hardy, Clive James, Jodie Marsh and Kevin Bacon and he co-produced and directed The Ponds, which has screened in UK cinemas, BBC Four and is currently available on Netflix.
An entertainment writer with a diverse taste in TV and film, he lists Seinfeld, The Sopranos, The Chase, The Thick of It and Detectorists among his favourite shows, but steers well clear of most sci-fi.
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