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Last Updated: Tuesday, 2 January 2007, 09:37 GMT
New life in This Life a decade on
By Fiona Pryor
Entertainment reporter, BBC News

Cult BBC drama series This Life returns on Tuesday with a one-off special marking the show's 10th anniversary.

The cast of This Life, 2006
The characters reunite after 10 years in the one-off special
The original cast, creator and executive producer have reunited to make the programme.

Revolving around a group of five lawyers in their 20s who shared a house in London, the show broke ground with its frank look at sex, homosexuality and relationships.

In this one-off special, viewers will see how the lives of Anna, Egg, Milly, Miles and Warren have moved on in the 10 years since they were last on the small screen.

In real life, the actors agreed they would not sign up for the show unless all five were on board.

'Anxiety'

"There was a bit of anxiety about whether we would all click again, and whether we could recreate those characters and that working environment," said Jason Hughes.

The cast of This Life, 1996
The actors only agreed to the project once all were on board
He admits it was only after the read-through with his fellow cast members that he thought they could pull it off.

Jack Davenport, however, found the whole project exciting from the start.

"The idea of reprising a character after 10 years for one night only was quite tempting," he said.

The former friends are brought together again after Egg writes about their time together in a best-selling book.

As he and the rest of the group discover, however, success is not everything.

Turbulent

Since This Life ended in 1997, the cast have had successes of their own - some more than others.

Miles (Jack Davenport) and Anna (Daniela Nardini)
The relationship between Miles and Anna has always been complicated
Still best known as Milly, actress Amita Dhiri admits it has been hard to shake off the character that propelled her to stardom.

"If something is successful you will be offered similar things again and again," she said.

"I can't tell you how many This Life copies I've been asked to do.

"But I think getting known for something that was so well received is more of a benefit than a hindrance."

Relationships between the five characters remain as complicated as ever in the new show - particularly Miles (Davenport) and Anna (Daniela Nardini).

Their turbulent fling dominated the previous series and there is still an obvious attraction between the pair.

'Old bed socks'

The show has come a long way since it was first aired in 1996, as creator Amy Jenkins recalls.

Warren (Jason Hughes) and Egg (Andrew Lincoln)
Old resentments resurface when the group meet up again
"I was kind of living in a bubble and everyone was telling me how great it was.

"I was on a train on my own and I opened The Independent. It said, 'This show is about as interesting as a pair of old bed socks.'"

The actors also admit to having felt unsure of themselves in the programme's early days.

"I suppose Warren was insecure 10 years ago and lacked self-confidence, and I suppose I felt like that too," said Hughes.

"It was a pretty hairy experience to do a show like we were doing on the schedule we were on."

None of them needed to have worried, though, as the show went from strength to strength.

"This Life brilliantly defined what it meant to be young in the nineties and captured the imagination of a whole generation of viewers," said BBC Two controller Roly Keating.

This Life + 10 is on BBC Two on Tuesday.


VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Scenes from the one-off This Life special



SEE ALSO
This Life's Ferdy not coming back
23 Oct 06 |  Entertainment
This Life returns after 10 years
20 Sep 06 |  Entertainment
BBC intends to revive This Life
04 Jul 05 |  Entertainment

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