In Shane Meadows' excellent 2006 film This Is England we saw how a group of young skinheads dealt with life in Thatchers England in 1983. That was followed up last year by a Channel 4 t.v. series which caught up with the gang three years later in 86 and during the summer with the Football World Cup as the main focus point of much of England. We now catch up with them again during the Christmas of 88 in a three part special, the first of which aired on our screens last night. Meadows latest outing in 80s Northern England sees the same characters return to our screens with Shaun (Thomas Turgoose) and Smell (Rosamund Hanson) continuing their relationship, but with Shauns attention wandering. Lol (Vicky McClure) is struggling to raise her daughter Lisa, conceived whilst cheating on her then boyfriend Woody (Joe Gilgun) with his best mate Milky (Andrew Shim). Woody has gotten himself a new girlfriend and his parents are over the moon that hes moved on after the mess he was in when him and Lol split. Woody has also been offered a promotion in work and is line to be the boss, but has his reservation as he watches his life continue into humdrum monotony. Lols life looks to be under a huge dark cloud as she struggles to raise Lisa and keep her head above water. Still suffering mentally from the ordeal with her father in 86 she sees him everywhere she goes as his legacy haunts her still. Milky returns after several months away, from where we dont know, to see the rest of the gang who seem to be continuing with their lives centred around the pub and a few beers. Although This Is England 88 looks interesting and should promise some great stories and drama, as with This Is England 86, it moves along at a snails pace. I understand that this isnt a high-octane pop culture style American drama that sacrifices quality for entertainment value, but not a great deal has happened in an hour-long episode. Obviously we need to catch up with all the characters and see where they are at this time, but these are characters that have shared about 6 hours of TV and film time previously, so we dont exactly need to learn who they are. A quicker catch up would suffice and then the show could of continued with story. Instead after 1 out of 3 hours being played out very little has happened. I feel that as much as This Is England 88 promises story, drama and conflict it may meander along at too slow a pace for enough to happen of any great value. I also fear that this is why British dramas such as this struggle abroad compared to the big HBO-style American dramas that dominate TV channels across the globe. Before criticism is aimed at me for suggesting the Americans dont get our drama, they do, they just get bored watching our kitchen sink style stories set in mediocrity and average life. Meadows is a great at showing the average working class person and their life. Hes great at little bits of conversation and chatter that seemingly go nowhere, but give us an insight into people and how they communicate. Hes great at showing us a world most of us had forgotten. Hes great at getting authentic and real performances from his cast. Hes great at showing us normality and reality. But, if I wanted all of that I would go and sit in my local pub and watch the reprobates of my own town interact with no point, reason or story. This Is England 88 will probably entertain the majority of people across Britain this Christmas, but I for one would like to see more story than is offered in a Shane Meadows TV hour. Personally, I love a good story, but Im not sure how much story I witnessed last night.