‘The Full Monty’ returns 25 years on, with its politics laid bare

by Madison Thomas
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working-class struggles

‘The Full Monty’ makes a triumphant return after 25 years, presenting its unfiltered political commentary in a new TV series.

In the beloved original film, a group of unemployed men from the northern region of England decide to form a striptease act as a desperate measure to raise funds after the local steelworks shut down.

The same writer, Simon Beaufoy, and producer, Uberto Pasolini, bring back these characters more than two decades later in a captivating portrayal of modern-day Britain through a comedy-drama TV series. Following the decline of heavy industry, the area has experienced a gradual erosion of public services and the social safety net.

“The politics are subtly interwoven,” shared actor Steve Huison in a recent interview with The Big Big News. “You don’t need to be hit over the head with them, but hopefully, people will watch it and realize, ‘Oh, that’s where I stand right now.'”

The original movie surprised audiences worldwide, amassing nearly $260 million in earnings and even inspiring a musical adaptation in 2000 and a play in 2013. Robert Carlyle, who portrays the cunning Gary “Gaz” Schofield, attributes the film’s success to its universal themes.

“One of the main reasons it resonated globally, especially in Europe, was that places like Sheffield exist throughout Europe and even across the United States if you think about it, perhaps in places like Detroit. The decline of the car industry there is similar to Sheffield’s steel industry collapse,” explained Carlyle.

The 1997 film received four Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, ultimately winning one for Anne Dudley’s score.

In the TV series adaptation of “The Full Monty,” the men—now older but not necessarily wiser—do not strip, but instead struggle to navigate the challenges of modern society and, in some cases, to survive. The series features the return of original cast members Tom Wilkinson, Mark Addy, Wim Snape, Paul Clayton, and Paul Barber.

Hugo Speer, an original star who once taught a dance routine from the movie to King Charles III at the prince’s 50th birthday party, was dismissed from the show due to allegations of inappropriate conduct but does make a brief appearance in the series.

Beaufoy co-wrote the series alongside his frequent collaborator Alice Nutter, the Chumbawamba singer who has also contributed to “Trust” and “The White Princess.” Unlike the movie, the new TV series not only focuses on the struggles of working-class men but also gives women a prominent role in the narrative, no longer relegating them to the sidelines as mere wives.

“From the original to the series, I felt Simon had been incredibly generous,” expressed Lesley Sharp, reprising her role as Jean. “He and Alice have beautifully invested in other female characters.”

The series introduces a new character named Destiny, a rebellious teenager portrayed by Talitha Wing, who inherits her father Gaz’s knack for trouble but possesses an unwavering determination to succeed in life.

“There are really strong women in the series,” exclaimed Wing (“Alex Rider,” “Wolfe”). “It’s fantastic to see and be a part of.”

The original eight-part series from FX is now available on Hulu in the United States and on Disney+ in the United Kingdom.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about working-class struggles

What is “The Full Monty” TV series about?

“The Full Monty” TV series is a comedy-drama that continues the story of unemployed men from the original movie. Set 25 years later, it explores the challenges faced by these characters in contemporary Britain, focusing on the erosion of public services and the welfare safety net after the dismantling of heavy industry.

Is the TV series a direct sequel to the original movie?

Yes, the TV series serves as a continuation of the story from the original “The Full Monty” movie. It revisits the characters more than two decades later and delves deeper into their lives, reflecting the changes and struggles they face in modern society.

Does the TV series have a political element?

Yes, the TV series lays bare its politics and offers social commentary. It sheds light on the impact of industrial decline on working-class communities and highlights issues such as unemployment, public service erosion, and the challenges faced by individuals trying to survive in a changing landscape.

How does the TV series address female characters?

Unlike the movie, the TV series puts women at the forefront of the story instead of sidelining them as mere wives. It invests in other female characters and explores their experiences, showcasing their strength and empowerment within the narrative.

Where can I watch “The Full Monty” TV series?

The TV series is available for streaming on Hulu in the United States and Disney+ in the United Kingdom.

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