Where most documentaries on alcohol intake adopt a moralistic tone, Drinking for Englandsets out to explore the celebratory aspects of the nation’s number one drug in lyrical fashion. Characters tell or sing their stories in verse, their words composed by poet Simon Armitage, based on interviews with the film’s participants.
Denis, a retired professional gent in Norfolk has a civilised daily routine of gin and tonic, and cites “cheap wine” as the main cause of alcoholic problems. Drink-driving laws, Denis insists, should be relaxed for experienced drinkers such as himself.
We go out on the town with Ami and Kerry, two young women who don’t feel at home unless they’re sozzled. Jane, who’s madly in love with sherry, yearns to kick the habit so she can spend more time with her young son.
A Century Films production for BBC2 Modern Times
1 x 50 minutesVerseSimon ArmitageMusicMichael ConnPhotographyTony ColdwellGerry LawSound recordistsJohn CurtisIan MaclaganBBC unit managerJane HewertsonProduction assistantParisa TaghizadehFilm editorStuart BriggsWanda GurzynskaAssistant producerKate BailiffProducer and directorBrian Hill
WinnerBest Documentary, Royal Television Society Awards
WinnerBest Documentary, MIND National Media Awards
"Overturning the traditionally sober verité documentary style... A genuinely extraordinary and original piece of work."The Independent on Sunday
"Probably the cleverest, best and most truthful film about drinking that you’ll ever see. What adds to the film’s honesty are Simon Armitage’s verses, spoken and sung by the participants with a verve that defeats any thought of them being posed or staged."The Sunday Telegraph