Frances Lorraine Woodford (née Jenkins) or more commonly known as "Lol" is a supporting character in This Is England film, and one of the central characters of This Is England '86, This Is England '88 and This Is England '90. She is portrayed by Vicky McClure.
Introduced as a young skinhead in 1983, Lol was a factory worker and is later a single mother who lived near Nottingham, and part of the skinhead gang during the early 80's. Loud and friendly, yet a little reserved, Lol was a prominent member of the gang, who was quite secretive when it came to her past.
Lol and Woody had been together before This Is England was set, and she was the natural leader of the females of the group, with her younger sister Kelly and friends Smell and Trev. In 1988, she became a single mother to a daughter named Lisa and a son, Jimmy born in 1989. She suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder in which she often experienced visions of her abusive father.
Lol was the first-born daughter of Mick and Chrissy, born around 1962. However, her home life was not the ideal one, since her father was a physically, verbally and sexually abusive man and Chrissy was a passive woman who took Mick's abuse and even grew to love him more despite his behaviour. Mick sexually molested Lol, who told her mother, but she thought up an alibi for Mick by saying she had kicked him out of the bedroom and he accidentally stumbled into Lol's room, and Lol got hysterical (although this story was far from plausible, since Chrissy would not have the authority to send Mick out of the bedroom in the first place, and Mick would not be able to molest Lol without being able to see where he was going).
when she was 6 years old, Lol eventually confided this story to her friend, Combo (who at the time was seventeen), who tried to beat Mick up in revenge, but Lol later found Combo beaten and bloodied in the street, Mick having left him to die. Lol rushed Combo to the hospital but continued to live her life of abuse. At one point, Lol and Combo had an affair while drunk when she was sixteen, but Lol insisted that it was a one-night stand, and eventually met Woody, beginning a long-term relationship with him. The couple eventually became skinheads and formed a group, including Milky, Pukey, Kes, Gadget, Meggy, Kelly (Lol's younger sister), Smell and Trev. Before Lol began a true relationship with Woody, he and Milky took turns in dating Lol, and Lol would harbour romantic feelings towards Milky as much as Woody. Eventually, Mick abandoned the household, leaving Chrissy, Lol and Kelly alone.
In 1983, Lol is introduced to Shaun, the newest member of the group. On Shaun's insistence, Lol shaves his head to make him a true skinhead, but is reprimanded by Shaun's mother, Cynthia, though she nevertheless thanks the group for cheering Shaun up and buying him clothes. Later, Combo returns to the group after a three year prison sentence he served for Woody, and shares an uneasy reunion with him. Later on, Combo asserts his racist views on the skinheads and causes them to split into two groups. Lol remains in Woody's apolitical group.
Later on, Combo approaches Lol on her way to work and expresses her anger at him for hurting Woody's feelings. In private, Combo admits that he has loved Lol since their affair years ago, but Lol tells him that it was the worst night of her life, and leaves him with a gift of a wooden box he had made for her whilst he was in prison. Lol is last seen at a party at Smell's house when she decides to leave when Combo, Banjo, Meggy and Shaun turn up..
In 1986, Lol takes a more central role in the series. Woody proposes to Lol, and she accepts. However, for some reason, Chrissy does not turn up as promised, and even disconnects her phone. Furthermore, Woody finds himself unable to say "I do", infuriating Lol, and things are only made worse when Meggy has a heart attack and the wedding is abandoned to get him to the hospital. Lol expresses her hurt feelings to Woody, and even speaks alone with Milky, remembering their time as teenagers, and Lol even hints that she still loves him. Chrissy eventually does turn up at the hospital, but only because she got Shaun there after finding him wounded. In her rage, Lol tries to attack her mother but is restrained by Woody. For some reason, Chrissy subtly mocks Lol for her failed wedding and urges her to move in with Woody.
Lol forgives Woody and decides to move in with him, but only gets angry at him again when his choice of residence is a run-down apartment where a drug addict had died in. Lol is comforted by Smell, and to cheer her up, the gang takes her for a house party at Carrotbum's home. At the party, she tries to speak with Woody, but he fails to answer due to being drunk, infuriating her even further. Lol eventually decides to go back home, but when she arrives, she sees that Mick has returned, welcomed back by Chrissy. Lol confronts Chrissy about her decision and accuses Mick of his past actions, but Chrissy lashes out at Lol and reveals that she deliberately missed Lol's wedding in order to be with Mick, and then tells her outright to "fuck off out of [my] house". Horrified at her mother's betrayal, Lol leaves and tries to tell a hungover Woody at work that her father has returned, but he is unable to see to her as his work break is not for another hour. Distraught, Lol turns to Milky and begins an affair with him. She confesses to Milky that her abusive father has returned and that Combo once tried to fight him. Lol continues her affair with Milky until her father shows up at her home with a furious warning to stop "lying" about him to Kelly. Lol vents her rage out on Milky, who was too frightened to defend her as he waited upstairs. Eventually, Milky breaks off the affair with Lol and convinces her to do her part to mend things with Woody.
Lol apologises to Woody for her cold attitude towards him, and he apologises for not being there for her. As all seems to be well once again, Lol is visited by Trev, who claims that Mick raped her the previous night. On Trev's insistence, Lol promises not to tell anyone about the rape, but once Trev is asleep, Lol goes to Mick's house to confront him, armed with a hammer, ironically as he is in the process of leaving the household again. Lol and Mick verbally argue, with Lol admitting that she ceased to see Mick as a father long ago, and Mick claiming that he hated Lol since the day she was born. Lol accuses Mick of raping Trev, and presents the hammer when Mick threatens to kill her. Lol foolishly turns her back long enough for Mick to drag her from behind and force her to the floor in an attempt to rape her, but Lol manages to get hold of the hammer and strike Mick in the head numerous times, stunning him. Without a second thought, Lol brings the hammer down her father's head one last time, killing him. The mere sight of Mick's bloody head traumatises Lol and she sits in a corner, sobbing quietly until Combo shows up for a visit after he returned to visit his dying mother. Seeing the murder scene and knowing full well what has happened, Combo alters the scene to make it look as though he fought and killed Mick in Lol's defence, and convinces a distraught Lol to go along with the plan for her own sake. Combo takes the fall for the murder and is sent to prison for manslaughter.
In the final scenes, Lol is shown in Woody's arms, apparently having accepted his second marriage proposal.
By 1988, it is shown that Lol is not married to Woody and is living in relative isolation with her two-year-old daughter, Lisa, who was conceived during her affair with Milky. The revelation of Lol and Milky's affair has also destroyed her relationship with Woody, who is no longer part of the group and has a new girlfriend, Jennifer. Lol has since fallen into a severe depression and is frequently having visions of Mick, who claims that he will always haunt Lol, the result of her tremendous guilt for murdering her own father and allowing Combo to take the blame. Her relationship with her mother has greatly healed, however, and she plays an active role in looking after Lisa. Lol does manage to find solace with Lisa's paediatrician, Helen, whom she verbally attacked the previous day after she suggested Lol was suffering from post-natal depression. Lol confesses the emotional turmoil she has been going through and the sexual abuse she suffered from Mick. In the meantime, Lol attempts to maintain her friendship with the gang, such as attending Shaun's play with the others, although they do not go to the after-play party. Lol leaves the all-night cafe by herself and goes to the church, but she has another vision of Mick and is driven over the edge. At home, it is revealed that Lol has overdosed on Paracetamol, when she is found by Kelly and Trev in the early hours of the morning. She is rushed to the hospital, where her stomach is pumped. In the process, she has visions of Mick and her past times with the gang (including archive footage of Pukey, Kes and Meggy from 1983).
Lol ultimately survives the ordeal and is visited by Woody. The two make amends and Lol admits to Woody that it was she and not Combo who killed Mick. They both admit that they still love each other and cannot live without the other. The final scene shows them embracing, like old times.
Lol is now seen with two children, working as a dinner lady and happy in her new lifestyle. Lol goes out for a night with the younger members of the gang to a Manchester night at the town hall, where Shaun confronts and attacks Harrison, Smell's new lover. Combo is also released from prison and needs somewhere to stay, so after due consideration it is agreed he will live with Woody and Lol in their house, much to the horror of Milky, when she gathers her close family around the kitchen table to reveal her news, not only about Combo, but the real reason of how she killed her father. In the final episode, Lol happily marries Woody and at the reception, she greets Kelly who has kicked her heroin habit and returned to join the gang.
In 1983, Lol appears in the typical Skinhead attire with a 'skingirl' haircut. Female skinheads generally wore the same clothing items as men, with addition of skirts, stockings, or dress suits composed of a ¾-length jacket and matching short skirt. Some skingirls wear fishnet stockings and mini-skirts, a style introduced during the punk-influenced skinhead revival. During the 1980s skinhead revival, many female skinheads had feathercuts (Chelsea in North America). A feathercut is short on the crown, with fringes at the front, back and sides, and Lol has this haircut throughout the film, in addition to her sister Kelly, and friend Trev.
In 1986, Lol still wears Skinhead influenced clothing such as a black Crombie coat, button-down Brutus shirts and Dr Martens boots, but her hair is more of a new wave blonde quiff, one she is most remembered for throughout the This Is England franchise. By 1988, her clothing differs to a darker, more drab style. Still wearing Fred Perry polos, she now has black dyed hair that she does not style. By 1990, a now happier Lol sports an array of Fred Perry polos in various colours, with high waisted Levis or Wrangler jeans. She often wears a black, grey or maroon cardigan over the polos, and her hair has returned to a short, bleach blonde bob but not styled in a quiff as she did in 1986. She is affectionately referred to as Myra Hindley by Woody.
Behind the scenes
- It was revealed that McClure did not wear any makeup throughout the television series of the programme.
- Prior to filming for This Is England '88, McClure was kept separate from the other members of the cast, and given a different hotel to increase the feelings of isolation her character was meant to feel.
- Joe Gilgun (Woody) and McClure (Lol) were at one point a couple in real life.
- Woody and Lol - refers to the romantic pairing between Richard Woodford and Lorraine Jenkins, which spanned throughout 1983-1986 and then 1988-1990.
- Combo and Lol - refers to the romantic pairing between Andrew Gascoigne and Lorraine Jenkins, which happened when the couple were younger, prior to the film.
- Milky and Lol - refers to the romantic pairing between Milky and Lol, which spanned throughout the Summer of 1986.