For my money Our Friends in the North is one of the best things that's ever been on British television. Broadcast in 1996 it tells the story of a group of friends in a changing Britain over a period of nearly 30 years. As part of The Guardian's 'How We Made' series, actor Christopher Eccleston and writer Peter Flannery talk about putting it on screen.

"It was hard. It took nine months to film and one of the directors left a few months after we started shooting in 1995. The very first episode had to be rewritten and reshot (which actually spared the audience hearing my singing). And it was an intense set: things were tense with Peter Vaughan, working through our difficult father-son relationship. Mark Strong and I didn’t get on in real life, just as our characters Nicky and Tosker didn’t get on. We were well cast in that respect – that’s as much as I’ll say."

The article links to a feature on the show from The Guardian in 2010 that provides more insight into the series.

"Yet Our Friends almost didn't make it to the small screen. It started life as a stage play at the RSC in Stratford in 1982; the action stopped in 1979, with the election of Margaret Thatcher. When approached by the BBC to make the play into a television drama, writer Peter Flannery was initially dismissive. "Our Friends was finished business for me by then. I didn't see the point in reworking it for television. I wanted to write something new." He was also sceptical about the BBC doing it properly."

 Below is the whole first episode.