Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Produced for British television in 1970, Seven Plus Seven was the first of several follow-ups to the highly acclaimed 1963 TV documentary Seven Up. Director Michael Apted, who had been a production assistant and researcher on the 1963 film, took it upon himself to "update" the lives of the 14 British schoolchildren, who, at age seven, had been interviewed in the earlier production. Now having reached the age of 14, the kids -- drawn from every strata of the British social class structure -- provided fascinating, and, at times, poignant insights as to how their dreams and ambitions had been altered (or in some cases strengthened) during the intervening seven years. Especially fascinating is the story of middle-class child Tony, who, at seven, had bluntly declared his intention to become a jockey, and who, at 14, had taken the first crucial step towards that goal by finding work as a stable boy. Even more compelling is the saga of the woebegone Liverpudlian lad Neil, whose seeming inability to function in a structured society had caused him to abandon his plans to become a tour-bus guide, and to drift into a life of aimlessness and ultimately homelessness. Few could have guessed at this time that Neil's life would intersect with that of another of the film's subjects, the politically ambitious Bruce, ultimately culminating in happiness and fulfillment for them both. Despite his increasingly busy film and TV workload, Michael Apted would continue revisiting the 14 youngsters (at least, those who agreed to continue appearing on camera) at seven-year intervals, resulting in such fascinating documentaries as 21 Up (1977), 28 Up (1983), 35 Up (1991), and 42 Up (1998).
Britain, child, dreams-of-success, interview, schoolchildren, social-classes