Richard Woodford
Also known as
Woody, Woods
Series
'83, '86, '88, '90
First Appearance
Episode count
12
Born
1964, Leeds, West Yorkshire
Occupation
Warehouse foreman (1986-1989)
Lovers
Trudy (c. 1977)
Jennifer (1988)
Lol (1978-1986, 1988-)
Family
Status
Alive
Portrayed by

Richard James Woodford or more commonly known as Woody, is a supporting character in This Is England and one of the central characters of ´86 and ´88 alongside Shaun and Lol.

Woody was a factory worker who lived near Nottingham, and a member of the skinhead gang during the early 80's. He was something of the leader of the gang, and his quick wit often made him popular among his peers. He is portrayed by Joe Gilgun.

Character History

Before 1983

Born in 1964, it is known that Woody was the leader of a rather large gang of skinheads, including his best friend Milky, his girlfriend Lol, Gadget, Pukey, Kes, Kelly, Trev, and the much older Meggy. One friend of his was Combo, though the friendship was somewhat strained due to Combo's racist nature and tendency to bully Milky. At one point, Woody and Combo got into trouble with the police, but only Combo was sentenced to prison while Woody went free. Woody would hold a sense of gratitude towards Combo from then on. He had a tattoo of a swastika on his arm (seen in 1988) but it is unknown whether this is from an earlier point in his life when he held far-right fascist views, or it is the peace version of the symbol (it is presumed to be the latter.)

1983

19 year old Woody meets Shaun, a boy who is going home after a fight with Harvey from school. Seeing Shaun's sadness, Woody attempts to cheer Shaun up, but Gadget and Pukey bully him about his trousers, causing him to storm off. Woody reprimands both Gadget and Pukey, and a few days later, invites Shaun to join them for some fun in the woods. Despite some initial tension with Gadget, Shaun is accepted into the group and Woody has his head shaved. He and Lol are reprimanded by Shaun's mother, Cynthia, for shaving his head without asking her first, but she nevertheless thanks Woody and the others for cheering Shaun up.

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Woody over three years.
Later, however, Combo returns from prison and tries to enforce his racist views on the skinheads by delivering a speech and even labelling Woody as a "snake in the grass" for not standing up for Milky at the party when Combo was being a racist. Woody is the first to leave the meeting and is only successful in taking Kes, Lol and a slightly hurt Milky with him. This causes the group to split in two, as Shaun, Gadget and Meggy join Combo and his friend Banjo.

Woody is last seen in the film at Smell's birthday party, but he and his group leave when Combo and his group arrive, unwilling to share the party with Combo. Combo tries to make amends, but Woody feigns that he wants to record something and leaves. Following Combo's brutal attack on Milky and lashing out at Shaun, Banjo and Meggy, the racist skinheads abandon Combo and rejoin Woody, who welcomes them back with open arms.

1986

By 1986, Woody has proposed to Lol and is ready to marry her, but it is obvious from the start that he is having second thoughts, stemming from his bleak relationship with his own father. At the wedding, Woody ultimately cannot bring himself to say "I do", and before he can, Harvey (the newest member of the group) rushes in and tells them that Meggy has had a heart attack. The wedding is abandoned in order to get Meggy to the hospital, where Lol expresses her anger at Woody for jolting her. Despite this, Woody urges Lol to forgive him and move into their new home with him (as does Lol's mother, since she has secretly given Lol's bedroom to her recently-returned abusive husband, Mick).

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Woody is also facing problems at work, since his spiteful boss takes every opportunity to make life harder for Woody while maintaining a happy face, and Lol becomes more distant towards Woody than ever, as he fails to fully recognise Lol’s turmoil due to her father’s return. Meanwhile, after learning that Shaun was at the same hospital as Meggy following an altercation with a bully, Flip, Woody and the gang go to Shaun's house and welcome him back, since he has not been with them for a while since being traumatised by Combo's attack on Milky. Upset at his failing relationship, Woody confides in Milky, unaware that Lol is having an affair with him.
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Ultimately, Milky manages to talk Woody into marrying Lol again. He and Milky go around telling their friends about the upcoming wedding, but it is halted due to the death of Lol's father. Woody and Lol are last seen kissing, implying that she has accepted his proposal. Woody has a weller inspired bowl cut hair, and wears mod influnced clothing compared to the skinhead look he had in 1983.

1988

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Woody in 1988.
In 1988 Woody is 24, however, he and Lol are no longer together, since she has given birth to Milky's daughter, living proof of her affair with him. Devastated, Woody imposes exile on himself and leaves the gang, at one point trying to kill himself with no success. Having a more conservative haircut but still wearing smart mod-like clothing, Woody soon finds a new girlfriend Jennifer and the two live with his overbearing parents, who adore his new partner, although it is clear from the start Woody is not entirely happy with his new life. On December 23rd, he pretends to his parents and Jennifer that he needs to send a fax for work, but instead he stops by the pub that his former friends are performing karaoke at, although he leaves in anger when he sees Milky. However, it implies he misses being part of the gang. He is offered a promotion at work by his now-friendlier boss. After much deliberation, Woody accepts, but while walking through town with Jennifer, he bumps into his old gang and confronts Milky about his affair with Lol. Old wounds start to surface and Woody attacks Milky, accusing the others of taking his side and even referring to Milky as a “snake in the grass", referencing what Combo called him in the first film. He has a heart to heart with Jennifer whilst tending to his hand which he injured whilst fighting with Milky, where he apologises for his behaviour and praises her for being a kind person, where she points out to him that she “is not Lol”, leaving him to reflect.

On Christmas Day whilst opening presents, Trev arrives and tells him that Lol has had an overdose and he rushes to the hospital. On his arrival in Lol’s hospital room, he sees Kelly, Chrissy (Lol’s mother) and Milky sitting in silence and the bed has been made, and initially thinks Lol has died and starts to break down. Chrissy informs him that Lol is alive and having a smoke downstairs. He finds Lol in a room downstairs, where they share a moment alone and admit that they still love each other and cannot live without each other. Lol finally admits to Woody that it was herself, and not Combo, who killed her father (Mick had raped Trev and was attempting to rape a vengeful Lol when she retaliated by killing him). Woody and Lol reconcile their differences and embrace each other.

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Woody in 1990.

1990

Woody now 26, is now a stay at home Dad for Lisa and his son Jimmy, with Lol. He has grown a beard and let his hair grow, in addition his clothing is baggy and shabby. Smoking marijuana at home and watching documentaries on television seem to be his routine. He is very content with his life, although is still irritated by his insufferable parents. They try to convince him to return to his factory job, and surprise him with the return of his old boss Mr Squires. He gets angry and defensive when his mother suggests that he and Lol look like they’re struggling and declares that he and Lol are happy. The day after a barbecue, Lol informs him that she had spoken to Combo and is due to be released, and he agrees Combo can stay with them, reflecting on the sacrifice Combo made for Lol. During a family Sunday dinner with Chrissy, Kelly, Milky, Shaun, Helen and Trev, where Lol confesses she killed her dad and Combo’s return, Woody sees how upset Milky is and begs him to forgive Combo.

On Combo’s return, they embrace tearfully. He then proposes to Lol whilst Combo is upstairs. During wedding planning, Chrissy hits his mother Barbara during an argument and Woody pretends to reprimand Chrissy, although he can be seen quietly laughing. He soon smartens up for his wedding and is last seen happily dancing with Lol as the gang look on.

Personality and style

Woody is quick-witted, charismatic and also extremely kind-hearted, making him popular amongst the gang. In 1983, he represented the type of skinhead that the movement originally intended to be, apolitical, non-judgemental and accepting, a stark contrast to fellow skinhead Combo’s racist ways.

Woody has a noticeably dramatic style change from 1983 to 1990. In 1983 his style was of the typical skinhead. Shaved hair, doc martens, jeans and button up shirts. In 1986 however, he had adopted much more of a mod look with a Paul Weller style haircut, cardigans and a parka. This seems to be a deliberate change possibly due to the events of the first film or simply wanting to experiment with different styles as his father was a mod in the 1960s. In 1988, his haircut was more conservative, usually wearing ties and cardigans, reflecting the constraining lifestyle he lead living with his parents and his job. By 1990 however, he has abandoned any sense of style, having a beard with messy hair, and usually wears baggy t-shirts and tracksuit bottoms with trainers, noticeably converse, which reflects he is in a comfortable place in his life and doesn’t see appearance as a priority anymore. However, he smartens up for his wedding and is seen wearing a stylist blue suit.

Relationships

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Woody's appearance over the series.
Romantic Relationships
  • Woody and Lol - refers to the romantic pairing between Richard Woodford and Lol, which spanned throughout 1983 and 1986.
Friendships
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