Ten whole years have passed since Lol and Woody finally got hitched and the whole town wept at the fairy-tale happy ending that was slightly marred by the strange disappearance of Combo so soon after reforming. Now in the new millennium, Baha Men (no, me either) are topping the charts with ‘Who Let The Dogs Out’ and a whole load of shit has went down in the anonymous midlands town of This Is England.
The millennium started off with a bang (quite literally). Terrified that the Millennium Bug meant the end of the world, Smell (who spent the second half of the nineties protesting against the rise of computers) falls into bed with the ever-patient Shaun after getting too merry on blue WKDs in an attempt to blot out her impending death. Shaun of course, is well keen. That is, until the morning after when the reality that the world is, in fact, still spinning (ever so slightly quicker than the ceiling above them).
Cue the awkward sexual tension and emotional tug of Shaun’s puppy-dog eyes for the rest of the series as he tries to get Smell to be his girlfriend again. It is later revealed that Smell has been leading him on for the past 6 months, with a series of sexy emails and even the odd nude fax. Smell, having decided to leave the group back in the 80s, is consequently painted as the enemy while Shaun turns back into his mum’s loving arms and a good old hotpot followed by a Britpop night at the town hall for nostalgic purposes.
Across the town, Harvey and Gadget are still living together and making a mint off of selling pirated CDs and DVDs from LimeWire. Dodgy copies of Gladiator have replaced pound-bags of weed as the pulling method of choice on the council estate nowadays. That’s not to say the VHS has been discarded in the past millennium. Oh no. VHS is still the ruler of the roost, with the lads’ collection of ‘blue’ movies taking up the majority of their spare room.
You’ll be happy to hear that Gadget has finally stopped wearing the horrendous purple hoody that he loved almost as much as Kelly in 1990. However, he just doesn’t have the heart to throw it out. Instead, it hangs in his wardrobe all dusty and moth-bitten like a dirty little secret. In its place, he now sports some all-white Reebok classics with acid-wash denim (for the nostalgia of the acid house days) and a casual polo (sporting the golden arches of the Mcdonalds empire).
“Dodgy copies of Gladiator have replaced pound-bags of weed as the pulling method of choice on the council estate nowadays”
It’s not just Gadget who’s grown up and got a ‘proper job’. Thanks to the election of Tony Blair and New Labour back in 1994, things are looking pretty peachy for Lol and Woody. Celebrating their 10 year anniversary this year, and with another baba added to the brood, Woody has shaved off the beard for good (he’s assured Lol), sacked off the Documentary channel and is now working in an accountants. The couple have moved to a semi-detached in a good catchment area, and are even able to buy a mobile phone for teenage daughter Lisa by the end of the year.
Yep, that’s right, she gets the Nokia 3310. The peak of technological advancement where she can create her own ringtone by coding, and continually beat her own high score on Snake 2. That’s how Christmas Day 2000 is spent in the Woodford household: Lisa slouched on the sofa absorbed by the mobile screen whilst her parents despair and question if they were actually ever fun ‘hip’ people.
That Christmas, Woody’s mum and dad come round for Christmas dinner, subtly judging their not-even-remotely-Conservative relatives. Thankfully, Jennifer is not in tow this year. No, she has finally moved on from Woody and got herself a new fella, named Nick. She does still live on Mr and Mrs Woodford’s road though. And go round every Sunday for a catch up. But she assures them (and poor, naïve Nick) that she definitely has moved on. She thinks. Although Nick does look a bit like Woody if you squint. Any who, that Christmas, Mrs Woodford presents Lisa with a very thoughtful gift: newly released Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Unfortunately, J. K. Rowling doesn’t include a pixelated line moving across her book in a snake-like fashion, so Lisa isn’t interested in the slightest.
After Christmas dinner, Lol and Woody make a point of telling Lisa she should be grateful for her gifts, especially after her shockingly bad school report for that term. Now a fully-fledged stroppy teenager, she has taken to bunking off Biology lessons in favour of Marlboro Lights and the bike sheds. She keeps her friends up-to-date with her rebellious gallivanting throughout the year using Bebo (Facebook only worked if your email address ended in .edu at this point, imagine). At the minute, the soundtrack to her page is ‘Don’t Call Me Baby’ by Madison Avenue. Because she’s so grown up, dur.
Lisa isn’t the only one doing naughty things in the noughties. Shortly after being jolted by Smell for the millionth time after the New Year’s Eve debarcle, Shaun and a few of the lads from work went to support England in Euro 2000 and ended up in a police cell in Belgium for his hooliganism. Some say that is was Shaun who was the cause of England almost being banned from the competition. But that’s just speculation.
The characteristic big knees-up of the series comes from the Queen Mother’s 100th birthday. Not that the gang are overtly royalist, but she’s a sound lass and it’s an excuse to get drunk, right? There’s a big reunion during the street party: amongst the egg mayo baps, cherry bakewells and bunting, tension is in the air. Milky, father to Lisa and bestie of Woody, is home. Shortly after the wedding 10 years ago, Milky took a job in another town and did a disappearing act (strange that it was so soon after Combo mysteriously vanished too, eh?). Since taking the job (in a car factory, apparently), Milky has been an absent father and friend, only returning a few weeks a year and contacting Lisa by text sporadically, for shame of his past actions.
“She keeps her friends up-to-date with her rebellious gallivanting throughout the year using Bebo (Facebook only worked if your email address ended in .edu at this point, imagine). At the minute, the soundtrack to her page is ‘Don’t Call Me Baby’ by Madison Avenue. Because she’s so grown up, dur.”
Let’s not forget that the group is still divided over the whole Britpop saga of the late nineties, adding further unease to the proceedings: Woody, Trev and Milky very much fronting Team Oasis; Gadget, Kelly and Banjo all for Team Blur. The division rears its ugly head when Kelly decides to take control of the playlist for the street party (using CDs from LimeWire obviously) and plays four Blur songs in a row. Everyone had had enough by Song 2… A drunken scrap between sisters Kelly and Trev leaves them both with black eyes and sore egos after the lads have to tear them apart. ‘Think of the children, the children!’ screams Mrs Woodford in the corner.
All is put right between the pair when they receive a letter from the BBC inviting them onto Get Your Own Back, along with their mum. Still working in the school kitchens, the pupils have finally revolted after 10 years of coffee whip.
And so the scene closes once more on our favourite eighties gang, as Robbie Williams’ ‘Millennium’ plays over a montage featuring Tony Blair on Downing Street, Kylie and her infamous gold hotpants, and Davina welcoming the first Big Brother housemates into the newly-invented reality show.