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‘The Full Monty’ returns: ‘this show doesn’t shy away from uncomfortable truths’

Some 26 years after the box-office topping film debuted, The Full Monty is back for a Disney+ series. But, as the cast explain, it's as vital as ever.

By Nick Reilly

(Picture: Disney +)

As The Full Monty debuts on Disney+, the cast of the new series have opened up on how it has lost none of the original film’s searing political edge.

Released in 1997, the film told the story of six unemployed men – four of whom were laid off after the closure of the city’s steel works – who formed a male striptease act in order to earn some much-needed money.

While the sequel catches up with the likes of Gaz (Robert Carlyle) and Dave (Mark Addy) some 26 years on, the social heartbeat of the original remains. There is a storyline that involves Horse (Paul Barber) navigating the Kafkaesque nightmare of the disability benefits system, while another sees Dave – now a schoolteacher – befriending a pupil who is reliant on food banks.

“When we made the film, food banks were not a thing,” explained Addy.

“And now it seems that the government is happy with the fact that people have to rely on these things to eat? How has it come to this. It’s shocking really but people are people and they’re doing what they can to, to survive the prices of everything.”

He added: “It’s funny because the film kind of came out on a cusp when things were, perhaps, well for a lot of people they were starting to change. Now, we just can’t carry on as we are.”

Praising the writing of creator Simon Beaufoy, his co-star Lesley Sharp added: “That’s the thing about Simon when he was writing for the film and what he’s now doing with the series is he doesn’t shy back from going to places and talking about things that are uncomfortable or difficult or just downright unfair. But he does it so well. Sometimes it’s quite bleak and it’s sad and then he does it as well with an incredibly clever light witty touch.”

Another storyline, meanwhile, sees what happens when school cuts force the axing of creative departments such as music.

“I found school quite tough at times, but I loved all the creative stuff,” said Talia Wing – who plays Destiny, the daughter of Gaz.

“It was definitely that stuff that made me think I could go and be really great at it. I’d then sit in maths and try my very best but I was never going to be top of the class.”

She added: “Cuts that are made in education are always created there. What they forget is they’re missing out on a form of therapy in a way for kids who who may be struggling at home, who may not have somebody that they can turn to for whatever shit they’re having to deal with.”

Addy added: “It was a massively revolutionary film in its day. The way Simon chose to explore the state of the nation then in a, in a particular way.

“And I think he’s carried that on with the series. You’ll in the midst of lighthearted banter that might be going on, they’ll be a little nugget of truth that is uncomfortable.

“The legacy of the first film is a huge part of the reason why we all chose to come back.”