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

/ 24 October 2016

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