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Byker (1983)


Warning: screenonline full synopses contain 'spoilers' which give away key plot points. Don't read on if you don't want to know the ending!

Scenes of old and new Byker, a working class district of Newcastle. A montage of still photographs of scens and residents of old Byker, depicting many aspects of life - a newsagents and second-hand shop, the pub, the café, barbers, and fish and chip shop. A scene from a children's television programme (with a Witch singing 'Money' from the musical Cabaret) plays on a bank of televisions in a shop window. An old man and young boy stand watching.

Still photographs of old Byker, featuring local children, followed by a series of photographs of local women. Women talk and joke in an old laundry while washing and scrubbing clothes. In a modern laundrette, women sit in silence while washing tumbles back and forth in the machines.

Still photographs of pub life in old Byker. An elderly woman sings in the pub while a man plays the piano. The pianist leads a sing-along, accompanied by a violinist. Still portraits of local residents, mostly pictured in their own homes. Pictures of domestic interiors, the local bingo hall (exterior and interior) and pigeon lofts. Photographs of pensioners in old Byker. A modern pensioner in puzzled by a ticket machine for the Newcastle Metro. Photographs of teenagers in old Byker. The sing-along in the pub continues.

Photographs of the demolition of old Byker. Scenes of empty and derelict interiors and bricked-up exteriors. Scenes of the new 'Byker Wall'. An elderly woman sits in a communal lounge while other residents play bingo. She walks slowly along a corridor to the lifts. She enters the lift and exits onto a landing and walks to her flat. Scenes of another elderly woman, sitting alone in her flat. Back in old Byker, the sing-along continues. A voice calls 'Last orders!' Still photograph of the scene over old Byker towards the city centre.