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Our Friends in the North (1996)


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!

Episode 9, '1995', tx. 11/3/1996

Newcastle, 1995. Nicky, now a successful but world-weary photojournalist, attempts to draw his father from the grip of Alzheimer's disease, and to convince him that his years of political struggle, from the Jarrow March onwards, were not in vain.

Mary, now a Labour MP, finds herself in conflict with her policeman son over teenage vandals on an estate in her constituency, specifically Sean, the out-of-control child of local gangster Christopher Collins. Sean has been befriended by Geordie, now a down-and-out.

Tosker, now a family man with a business empire, is about to open a floating nightclub on the River Tyne. Geordie, a physically and mentally damaged drifter, has returned to Tyneside after spells living rough in London and in prison for arson. Although shocked at Geordie's decline and not initially pleased to see him, Tosker offers him a position as keyboardist in the nightclub band, and a bed for the night.

Geordie, kitted out in a new suit by Tosker and his wife, meets up with Nicky for a drink before the club's opening night. As Nicky leaves, Geordie stays behind to intervene when he sees young Sean Collins begging for attention from his father. Geordie is rewarded with a bloody nose, and is refused admission to the club. Tosker, always a frustrated musician, takes over the keyboard job, much to his delight. Mary also misses the club's opening after a row with her son Anthony. Sean steals a car and crashes it, killing himself.

Florrie's funeral takes place, and the four friends are finally reunited. As Mary drives away from the wake, Nicky chases her on foot. Breathlessly he declares his desire to renew their relationship, and they embrace one another. Geordie, pausing briefly to look at Tosker and his family enjoying the benefits of their wealth, walks across the Tyne Bridge.