The story of Neil is one of the saddest in the series.
Neil as a seven year old was incomparable to his later self. At seven, he was a young, vibrant, happy, and [you’ll get why I said this later on] mentally stable. He wanted to be an astronaut,and if not, a coach driver
So here we have it, the pinnacle of optimism and happiness, but this is soon to change.
At 14 we start to see the sensitivity and individuality that turned out to be his downfall. He appears to us a very intelligent and insightful, and yet quiet and withdrawn boy. He said that he found his comprehensive school big hard to settle into at first, but he settled in eventually.
At 21, Neil was wandering around, taking work where he could find it and not doing anything to benefit his career. We find that he had dropped out of university after about a term because of a strong need to “escape the system” and because he found that university life didn’t suit him. As you can imagine, Depression was at its early stages, and it was quite apparent.
28 up is even worse, we see him wandering around Scotland as a hitchhiker and pensioner, finding shelter where he could and his depression and mental instability seemed to have reached a new stage. He didn’t say why he left England and started moving around, but he was finding the mountains a lot more comforting than the city.
By 35 he had settled down and was living in a government flat in the Shetland Islands. It looked like his condition had gotten a little better, but it was still very prominent. He participated in a few of the school’s plays there and he tried to organise a professional touring theatre company, but I don’t think that had much success.
42 is the point at which he picks his life up. Well, not by himself. We find that Bruce, another of the shows subjects had helped him out and Neil was living in his apartment in London. He had finally found some stability in his life. He became a liberal democrat for the London borough of Hackney.
At 49 he had moved into the country and was on the council there. He seemed to have a much stronger sense of purpose. His wisdom and insightfulness are there for all to see and very few sign of his previous state of mind remained [have a look at this- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xjqwWwi-IWw].
He had also turned to Christianity and started a church group in his home.
In 2010 general election he stood for the liberal democrat of Carlisle where he finished third. Quite an achievement
56 is still to be released, so we shall see what he is like then, but I encourage you, watch the series for yourself.