Advertisement
TV

Succession highlights family values for Sam Delaney

Turns out siblings squabbling over the family empire makes great TV

When Iwas about one year old, my dad left me, my three brothers and my mum and fucked off to live with a younger woman. My mum, brokenhearted and skint, was left trying to raise four boys on a council estate in Brentford, working part-time as a secretary so she had time to take care of us after school. Life didn’t seem all that bad to me because it was all I was used to. But once I got a bit older I realised it was really weird that we had no central heating, no car and were visited by a loan shark every Friday night who would come to collect repayments from my mum then outstay his welcome to make advances on her while I was trying to watch Play Your Cards Right. But every other weekend I would spend time with my dad who by now had started his own advertising agency, bought a luxury flat in St John’s Wood and was driving around in a flashy car. (Alimony? Ha! My dad cleverly convinced my mum it was better to “keep the financial stuff casual”.)

There was a juxtaposition between these parallel lives that didn’t seem right. My dad’s ad agency was in a trendily appointed space in Covent Garden. It smelt of fresh coffee and was staffed by impossibly sexy women. And the work just seemed to involve sitting around drawing pictures and taking the piss out of each other all day.

My old man seemed to have cracked it. And while it was obviously wrong that he was revelling in the trappings of his new-found fortune while his family slummed it back on the estate, I figured that one day when I was a grown-up he’d cut me in on the company and I’d be set for life. It didn’t turn out like that.

The agency sailed too close to the sun and Eighties boom was eventually followed by Nineties bust. There was no ad agency fortune for me or my brothers to fight over and maybe that was for the best. Succession shows just how nasty sibling power struggles can become when the patriarch has a business empire dangling in front of them.

Brian Cox plays Logan Roy, a thinly veiled rendition of Rupert Murdoch, toying with the ambitions and loyalties of his dysfunctional offspring. It’s written by Jesse Armstrong, who co-wrote Peep Show, The Thick Of It, Veep and various other TV modern classics. Set in the disgusting amoral pit of a New York City media empire, it combines Shakespearean drama with the blank-eyed cultural commentary of Bret Easton Ellis and the sort of brutal, hilarious dialogue you’d expect from the man who wrote words for both Super Hans and Malcolm Tucker. It’s probably my favourite show of the past five years. It makes me glad I never stood to inherit my dad’s company. In any case, everyone knows that advertising is for wankers.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Succession is on Sky Atlantic

Advertisement

Support The Big Issue Winter Appeal

Big Issue vendors can’t work from home and with severe weather warnings on the cards, they face a very tough and uncertain Winter period ahead.

Recommended for you

Read All
Screw creator Rob Williams: 'We don't always look at prisoners as individuals'
TV

Screw creator Rob Williams: 'We don't always look at prisoners as individuals'

Rose Ayling-Ellis: 'Suddenly it became quite cool to be deaf'
Strictly Come Dancing

Rose Ayling-Ellis: 'Suddenly it became quite cool to be deaf'

What real entrepreneurs think of The Apprentice
TV

What real entrepreneurs think of The Apprentice

Plants are still running the world… but new David Attenborough series The Green Planet shows they need our help
Green Planet

Plants are still running the world… but new David Attenborough series The Green Planet shows they need our help

Most Popular

Read All
Government branded 'disgrace' after bid to strengthen Sarah Everard inquiry voted down at 12.30am
1.

Government branded 'disgrace' after bid to strengthen Sarah Everard inquiry voted down at 12.30am

What are the Kill the Bill protests?
2.

What are the Kill the Bill protests?

Rose Ayling-Ellis: 'Suddenly it became quite cool to be deaf'
3.

Rose Ayling-Ellis: 'Suddenly it became quite cool to be deaf'

The Met Police is being sued for not investigating a Downing Street Christmas party
4.

The Met Police is being sued for not investigating a Downing Street Christmas party