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Sunday 31st May 2020

Viewers demand TV makers take a lesson from 'heartbreaking' and 'heartwarming' 63 Up

The participants are now 63

Telly fans are calling for TV makers to learn from documentary series Up after the show returned last night (June 4) and simultaneously broke and warmed hearts.

The programme, which follows a group of Brits whose lives have been filmed since 1964, is this year giving viewers an update on the lives of Tony, Andrew, Sue, Nick, Jackie, Bruce and others as they hit 63.

We last saw the cast of 63 Up in 2012, when it was 56 Up, but a lot has changed since then.

Nick, pictured here age seven, featured on last nights episode (Credit: ITV)

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The participants were only seven when it all started, but their mortality is beginning to show - particularly as this series is the first since one of the subjects, Lynn, passed away in 2013 following a short illness.

Director Michael Apted, who has led Up since its launch, revisited Nick and found him living with throat cancer.

The things we go through are what everyone's going through.

He's now married to his second wife, Chris, and has a job teaching. But because of his illness, he worries about what's to come.

He said on the programme: "I'm focused on fairly short-term futures at the moment."

Nick is suffering from throat cancer (Credit: ITV)

Elsewhere, cab driver Tony had to return to Britain and after a business venture in Spain fell through - only to find a taxi market dominated by Uber.

He'd had health scares but was otherwise living happily with his wife, Debbie.

Another participant, university administrator Sue, admitted life appeared harder for younger generations.

She could also see why the Up documentaries remain a popular fixture in the telly landscape, revealing: "The things we go through are what everyone's going through."

Sue has had a successful career as a uni administrator (Credit: ITV)

Viewers seemed to agree with her that Up is the real reality TV, with some comparing it to ITV's Love Island.

One said on Twitter: "I think every participant in last night's #63Up said 'well, Michael, you know me' when talking about something in their lives. And yes, he does. Today's 'reality' show makers could learn huge lessons from Michael Apted and his team. Sublime TV."

Another tweeted: "Heartwarming. Heartbreaking. Real lives. #63Up."

Someone else commented: "There's such an authenticity to #63up - no heavy hand of a producer shaping the narrative behind the scenes on this one, we just feel like we are watching real lives unfold. Joyous and poignant in equal measure. Genius by #MichaelApted."

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A fourth said: "Loving #63Up but my fellow #journalists insist on calling it #RealityTV when it's pretty much the opposite of that - a classic, well crafted single camera #documentary which really can't be bettered, much as I love @FirstDates and @C4OneBorn."

"#63Up really should be trending above anything to do with Love Island. It's a reminder of the great television ITV was able to produce far more frequently than it does now," wrote another.

A fifth tweeted: "#63Up is such a fascinating concept, so ambitious, entertaining and, unlike many other shows, not exploitative."

Do you think other shows should take a leaf from 63 Up's book? Leave us a comment on our Facebook page @EntertainmentDailyFix and let us know.