Stephanie Ferguson’s Viewpoint Yorkshire Evening Post 10 March 1979
IT COULD have been down-town Harlem or even the Brazil Carnival, but it wasn’t. The opening shots of urban decay and the smiling faces that live among it took us nearer home to Chapeltown, Leeds, in “City” (BBC-2), the first of six programmes on life in our towns.
“Paradise Lost” was not the usual warts and all probe into the red light and twilight zones. Instead we saw the Tiger Bay of Leeds through the eyes of its youngest residents, the pupils of Harehills Middle School and in particular Orlando Weeks.
The once popular adult cliché about schooltime as the happiest days of your life was always sadly defeatist: they are slow days but a fleeting time when placed in the three-score-years-and-ten allotted at least to Mrs Average.
That the old saying can sometimes contain an element of truth was poignantly illuminated last night with BBC-2‘s Paradise Lost.
This vivid opener of “City,” a six-part series from BBC Manchester which will illustrate various aspects of inner-city decay, was carefully photographed and edited to establish the maximum contrast between smiling hope at the beginning of the ‘teens and bleak resignation at the end of them.
BBC2 8.0 New Series City Paradise Lost Radio Times 9 March 1979
Six films about inner cities now – seen through the eyes of those who live and work in them.
Chapeltown in Leeds. Back-to-back housing, high unemployment and low morale; a multi-racial, often violent, example of urban decay. A group of enthusiastic 12-year olds, encouraged and guided by dedicated teacher Nadine Senior, is preparing for the school’s Christmas production, this year Milton’s Paradise Lost/