Channel 5 teams up with Shelter and 2015 BAFTA-winners for Slum Britain: 50 Years On

Channel 5 today announces an important documentary, partnering with housing charity Shelter and a multi-award-winning production team.

The fight to end bad housing and homelessness is portrayed in an ambitious documentary Slum Britain: 50 Years On a 1 x 90’ film from ITN Productions. Double BAFTA and International Emmy Award-winning film-maker, Marcel Mettelsiefen and Producer/Editor Stephen Ellis, who last year won a BAFTA for their film from Syria – ‘Children on the Frontline’ – take viewers on an emotional journey to mark the 50th anniversary of Shelter. The starting point of the film is a retrospective look at people who lived in the slums of the 1960s. In parallel, the documentary takes a contemporary and sensitive look at the lives of those living through the housing crisis of today and asks have we truly understood the issues first brought to light nearly half a century ago?

In 1968, housing and homelessness charity Shelter documented the plight of some of Britain’s poorest families with a series of images captured by photographer Nick Hedges.  In its 50th year, Shelter wanted to revisit those people to tell the story of their lives. Where are those children and their families now, and what have their lives been like?

With exhibition-style photography through a series of pictures and film, the programme sensitively portrays the conditions individuals and families are living in today. Being on the breadline doesn’t necessarily mean living on the streets, but could include temporary accommodation in hostels or B&B’s and the looming threat of eviction with nowhere to go.

Between these two arcs – tracking down the people from the 1960s photographs and meeting their modern-day counterparts – the film delivers a compelling and emotional insight into the impact of our housing crisis on families and individuals over the past half century.

Help is provided by charities such as Shelter, but people’s desperate and moving stories often go untold. The new Channel 5 programme charts their journey to spark a debate about what can be done to help end this plight that is still affecting millions of British people today.

Slum Britain: 50 Years On is commissioned by Channel 5’s Commissioning Editor Factual, Guy Davies and executive produced by ITN Production’s Editorial Director, Chris Shaw. This film re-unites the award-winning team behind Children on the Frontline: Director Marcel Mettelsiefen, Producer /Editor Stephen Ellis and Executive Producer Chris Shaw, all BAFTA and International Emmy award winners. Producer is Alison Ramsay.

Guy Davies, Channel 5’s Commissioning Editor Factual commented: “This extraordinary project and collaboration with Shelter explores lives so often forgotten. The award-winning editorial team are making a definitive statement on our continuing housing crisis and its link to hardship in this important anniversary year for Shelter. Channel 5 is proud to commission this film.”

Chris Shaw, Editorial Director, ITN Productions said: “Marcel and Stephen have an extraordinarily sensitive eye for people in challenging or distressing circumstances and the ability to empathise with their subjects”.

Shelter’s Chief Executive Campbell Robb, said: “Nick’s photographs of the sixties slums are a sobering piece of history not only for Shelter, but the nation as a whole.

“It’s important to explore the stories of the people behind the pictures, but also of the many more homeless families who struggle today. The sad truth is that fifty years after these photos were taken, our country is once again at the mercy of a housing crisis – it may not be as visible as the slums, but it’s the very ordinariness of the crisis now that’s so shocking.  Every day we see the heart-breaking toll bad housing takes on people’s wellbeing and the way it breaks up families and communities.

“Shelter will continue to fight for everyone to have a safe, secure and affordable place to call home and support those going through the trauma of homelessness, for as long as we are needed. But I sincerely hope we won’t still need to be here in another fifty years.”

Shelter: Find out more

Dogs of War

Often in the middle of warzones soldiers come across stray dogs who provide comfort in a time of need. This is exactly what happened to Royal Marine Sergeant Pen Farthing who quickly realised that it wasn’t only local people in that needed help in Afghanistan.

In 2007 he set up an animal shelter and charity called Nowzad near Kabul and when he left the army he dedicated himself fulltime to improving the welfare of animals in Afghanistan. He has also helped over 800 soldiers serving in Afghanistan to be reunited with the dogs that they loved in their home countries.

Nowzad is the only official dog shelter for strays in Afghanistan and in their ‘Conrad Lewis’ clinic Afghan nationals treat injured or ill Afghan animals. They make a huge effort to rehome dogs locally but there are still many who would love to find a forever home in the west.

Their next owners need to be patient with their territorial nature and give them all the love they had denied in early life. It’s a lengthy and costly process but undeniably rewarding. Nowzad would love to hear from anyone who is interested in adopting a dog from them. Please follow the link below for more information-

Episode one – clips

Four best friends compete in a series of hilarious challenges in Impractical Jokers UK. Turning everyday situations into outrageously funny and embarrassing tests, the show sees them breaking all the rules of British politeness.

David, Matt, Lee and Paul take turns to be told what to do and what to say via a hidden earpiece. They have to put themselves through whatever torturous public pranks their friends can dream up, because if they refuse, they have to undergo an even more mortifying forfeit. In this merciless fight, there are no winners—only losers.

Here are some clips from the first episode of the show, which kicks off on Tuesday 2nd August at 10.30pm.


Puppy Socialisation

For at least the first six weeks of a puppy’s life their mother plays a vital role in teaching them how to interact with and behave around other dogs. As an example, puppies can learn how to control how hard they bite through the interactions with their mother and littermates.

Removal from the mother before this time can affect their ability to learn not just from their mother but also their siblings and this could affect their behaviour later in life. If they are removed too early they can become fearful of other dogs and in some cases could become aggressive.

It’s also really important to expose young dogs to as many different environments and situations as possible as well as different people and animals.  In their first few months puppies learn how to interact and are more likely to grow up to be well socialised dogs.

Useful helplines

If you’ve been affected by any of the issues brought up in the In Therapy series, please contact one of the helplines below:

Mental health
Rape and sexual abuse
Domestic violence


Freephone crisis & support line: 0808 1 606 606

Talk to Frank
Freephone: 0300 123 6600

Narcotics Anonymous
UK Helpline: 0300 999 1212

Helpline: 0300 123 1110

Action on Addiction
Helpline: 0300 330 0659

Alcohol Concern


Drink Aware



Mental health

Mind infoline: 0300 123 3393

Post-Natal Depression

PANDAS Foundation

Post Natal Illnesses

The Mental Health Foundation

Depression Alliance
To request an information pack call 0845 123 23 20

Depression UK

Overcome Depression

Tel: 0300 5000 927


The Samaritans
Tel: 0845 790 9090

Eating disorders:


Anorexia & Bulimia Care


Rape and sexual abuse

NHS Choices – Help after rape and sexual assault

Rape Crisis
Helpline: 0808 802 9999 (12-2:30 and 7-9:30)

Victim Support
Supportline: 0808 168 9111

RASAC (Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Centre)
National Helpline: 0808 802 9999 (12-2.30 & 7-9.30)

The Rape and Abuse Line (RAL)
Helpline: 0808 800 0123

The Survivors Trust

Survivors UK – Male Rape and Sexual Abuse Support

MPower – Support for Male Survivors of Abuse
Helpline: 0808 808 4321


The Miscarriage Association
The Miscarriage Association offers support to people who have lost a baby. They have a helpline (01924 200 799, Monday to Friday, 9am to 4pm) and an email address (, and can put you in touch with a support volunteer.

Cruse Bereavement Care
Helpline: 0808 808 1677

Cruse Bereavement Care helps people understand their grief and cope with their loss.

Face-to-face and group support is delivered by trained bereavement volunteers across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.


Marie Stopes UK
Making a decision to terminate a pregnancy can be very difficult and complex. Marie Stopes United Kingdom offers counselling to all its clients, whether their treatment is on the NHS or private. Marie Stopes offers counselling before, during and after treatment – for as many sessions as you need.

Domestic violence

National Domestic Violence Helpline
Helpline: 0808 2000 247
The Freephone 24 Hour National Domestic Violence Helpline, run in partnership between Women’s Aid and Refuge, is a national service for women experiencing domestic violence, their family, friends, colleagues and others calling on their behalf.

Men’s Advice Line
Telephone: 0808 801 0327
Men’s Advice Line is a confidential helpline for any man experiencing domestic violence and abuse from a partner or ex-partner.

Telephone: 01823 334244
Mankind operates a confidential helpline for all men across the UK suffering from domestic violence or domestic abuse by their current or former wife or partner (including same-sex partner).

Broken Rainbow
Broken Rainbow provides support to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people experiencing domestic violence.

Anyone who needs confidential help with their own abusive behaviour can contact Respect on their free helpline on 0808 802 4040.


Financial issues

Bankruptcy – Citizens Advice

Debt problems – Citizen Advice


Ditch the Label


Bullies Out

Bullying UK

Cyber Bullying





Help animals in need

If you would like to help an animal in need, either by making a donation, rehoming or fostering, head to The RSPCA’s website: 

Here are some other useful articles that may interest you:

Find out more about companion animals

Tellington Touch – find out more

Get involved in Cani-Cross

Find out how to foster a dog

Become a RSPCA volunteer

What you need to know about rehoming an animal

Follow the RSPCA on Twitter

Like the RSPCA on Facebook

Gothamite Ralf Little: I would share an Arkham cell with Penguin

After hosting our fan screening of the Gotham season two finale, British comedy treasure Ralf Little spoke to Channel 5’s Simon James about the show and his love for all things Batman.

So you’re a fan of Gotham?

Yes. I love Batman and I think this is a fantastic show. A cracking acquisition for Channel 5.

As a serious Batman fan, which characters were you pleased to see in the series?

I was really happy to see Azrael turn up. He’s not a character that has never made it to live-action before because he’s so unusual. In the world of comics, he’s much more plausible. And yet, the Gotham creators not only took him on, but gave him credible reasoning and a great costume without being too fancy or theatrical. He was brilliantly played by James Frain, who is an extraordinary actor.

Are you hoping that somehow, Azrael may return in some form?

Perhaps it could happen – nobody ever truly dies in a comic book world. The good guys never win – they only temporarily get a reprieve until somehow, someone comes back again.

Which villains would you like to see in series three?

Killer Croc. I think we may have seen a scaley chin at the end of the season two finale – he might be on the way… I think it’s very difficult to make a live-action Killer Croc work – I’ll be interested to see what they do with him in Suicide Squad. Riddler and Penguin have such strong characterisation that has extensively set the groundwork – when we saw the new threats at the end of season two, I was like: ‘I’m ready for a bit of that!’

One of the wonderful things about this show is that they know their history really well. I don’t get the feeling they’ll crowbar anyone in. But I do think if the time is right, they will bring them in at the right moment. One of the things that amazed me most about the Arkham Asylum videogames is the range of characters they managed to bring in and make relevant to the story – if they can do that in a game that probably lasted 15 hours, they can do it in this show, which has proven itself to be more than capable.

Who can you picture yourself sharing a cell with at Arkham?

Oswald [the Penguin] is quite sweet. I think if I could share a cell with him, put an arm round him and say ‘it’s alright mate, relax – you’re a nice bloke at heart,’ I might get through to him. I would find that a rewarding experience. Ed [the Riddler] not so much – when he isn’t trying to kill me, he’d be incessantly hard work, asking me riddles all the time. For fear of sheer irritation, I couldn’t be put in a cell with Edward Nygma.

There has been lots of talk suggesting the final shot of the series has to be Bruce Wayne donning the cowl. Would you agree that this is where Gotham should end, when it eventually does?

I would have thought so, yes. Everyone knows and understands that this is what the series is building to. It’s interesting and honorable for them to so openly state that and not try and create some air of mystery. It’s the right thing and the decent thing for the show to say ‘when Batman arrives, the show is finished.’ It’s not about that – it’s about how Batman comes to be, and that’s an interesting way to look at it.

I feel sorry for David Mazouz, who is absolutely brilliant as the young Bruce Wayne. He must be thinking ‘I’m the young Batman!’ They’re going to put him in the cape and cowl, make it look really cool, shout ‘action’, the camera will pan in for about fifteen seconds and then they’ll go… ‘cut! Right, take the suit off, you’re done.’ He’ll be like: ‘I was Batman for fifteen seconds, that’s devastating!’ Who knows, maybe Gotham continues into the first live-action Batman series since Adam West.

Do you see any similarities between Gotham and the Adam West series?

There is still a slight twinkle-in-the-eye of loveable campness. Maybe it’s intended to be more dark and realistic than that, but I think they walk that line brilliantly: It’s just sinister enough, but you can’t help laughing at a lot of tongue-in-cheek moments. I think that works really well – it’s a comic book after all.

What is your favourite Batman interpretation?

While everyone’s favourite incarnation tends to be the Christopher Nolan films, mine is the Arkham Asylum games, particularly the first two. Considering they’re video games, they have extraordinary characterisation. Mark Hamill is obviously brilliant as the Joker. The way they managed to incorporate all of the characters (that I imagine we will see in Gotham if we haven’t already), the depth of that was extraordinary.

Was Batman always your favourite superhero?

I was a Superman fan as a kid. Christopher Reeve’s Superman was released three years before I was born. Growing up in the 80s, you were either a Superman fan or a Spider-Man fan, and I was always Superman. Campy Adam West Batman, who as far as I could tell, was just a dude in a slightly weird outfit, was not a patch on Superman, who could fly and lift up buildings. I came to Batman later once I got into the comics and discovered the dark history. I used to watch the 90s Batman cartoon, and that was cool.

Many fans consider that series to be the definitive on-screen interpretation of Batman, moreso than any movies. What do you think?

I can see that. We have more sophisticated animation these days, so it looks a bit dated for those reasons. But in terms of how Batman was presented – how many times did we get that beautiful image of seeing Batman as just a shadow with two white eyes? Amazing. I also think that the 90s X-Men cartoon was the best version of X-Men there’s been. The Spider-Man one was great too – I loved all that!

Gotham is a new way of approaching the Batman mythos by establishing the characters and storylines earlier than we have seen before. What could be another new approach to telling a popular superhero story?

The musical Wicked is all about what is it like to see a story from an antagonist’s point of view. There’d be something really interesting in applying that to a superhero story. Batman is a vigilante. If your protagonist was a villain on paper and you gave him a really credible reason for being a villain, Batman could be one of your antagonists. One of the reasons the Batman legend is so rich and in-depth, is because the comics do ask the question ‘what gives him the right?’

If you could change anything about Gotham City what would it be?

Get better street lighting – supervillains wouldn’t be able to swan around in the dark! As a psychological experiment, it’s difficult to know how to cure Gotham – the police force are crooked; Carmine Falcone runs everything… In Batman Begins, the League of Shadows thought they should burn it to the ground; maybe they had a point!

Do you think comic book adaptations could go the way of the Western?

Probably, in its current incarnation. But it’s the nature of film, art, television, fashion, anything – all things have their time. The current thirst for comic book movies and TV won’t last forever. But there will always be a huge fanbase of people who think that these characters are extraordinary. Because they are, that’s why they’ve lasted so long. But when it does die down (it might be in twenty years), just like all of Batman’s villains, I’m sure it will eventually come back.

Catch the Gotham season 2 finale on Monday 13th June, at 10pm on Channel 5. Catch up on recent episodes of Gotham on My5.