Archives: Exposing Britain entriesTTTT

Exposing Britain’s Social Evils

Stephen Manderson & Chris McLaughlin

With these documentaries on child poverty and cannabis, Professor Green, has confirmed himself as a unique voice to bring a broad and younger audience to the social issues of today. In Britain today, 1 in 4 children are growing up in poverty. These figures are set to rise. Professor Green has done well, but he grew up in a home with a lot of stress around money. In this immersive film, he sets out to uncover what life’s like for young people on the breadline and finds the hidden consequence is mental health. He spends time with 10-year-old Kelly-Louise and 14-year-old Tyler. Her family have been evicted, can’t afford a deposit on a new home and facing homelessness, her life is turned upside down. The impact of poverty and cramped emergency accommodation or Tyler are palpable.

Dan Hewitt & Mat Heywood

Children with rickets, parents fainting with hunger in the playground, schools with laundries to wash children’s clothes; in 2 special reports Dan Hewitt and Mat Heywood uncovered the shocking reality of child poverty in Britain, exposing the failings of the benefit system and finding families trapped in low paid, insecure work. The project aired on ITV Granada and ITV National News. It was viewed over 7 million times on social media with coverage in The Guardian, The Mail and The Mirror. Jeremy Corbyn praised the reports online. The focus was in-work poverty and the impact on children living in struggling households. They found breakfast clubs where pupils cannot afford 10p toast and cereal, where teachers give their own coats and shoes to parents, and GPs treating children with malnutrition. Dan and Mat spent several weeks with 2 working parents and also their children, who themselves gave them a rare insight how they felt growing up in poverty, a testament to the trust they’d built.

Social media content & audience response 

Child Poverty Investigation: The Response

Sarah O’Connor, John Burn-Murdoch & Christopher Nunn

“On the Edge was a piece of vivid, hard-hitting journalism, combining people’s experiences, data and analytic insight to show how so many people are being locked out and left behind by the way our economy works.” – Campbell Robb

“A brilliant combination of ice cold analysis, real human interest, great use and presentation of data and limpid writing – all of which takes the problems of one seaside town and sets them in a far wider context.” – Nick Timmins

Video content

Mark Townsend

The Macpherson report 19 years ago and its assessment of “institutional racism” within policing is regarded as a defining moment in British race relations. The consensus now is that things have much improved; that fatal violence towards the black community is a US not UK issue. Over the summer, a cluster of young black men died following police contact. The official accounts were vague, but oddly similar. By painstakingly tracking down witnesses – many of whom were not interviewed by the watchdog – these official versions were contradicted and exposed. Together, they suggested a cover up. Lawyers warned us not to run the findings or footage because they might prejudice official inquiries. They were ignored in the public interest. Days after publication the IPCC recommended suspending officers; one force internally admitted failings. A month later, as a direct result of the article, another five Met officers were placed under investigation. Within three months the IPCC was shut down.

Video content

The arrest and death of Rashan Charles

Jennifer Williams

I aimed to expose how dangerous and widespread Spice use had become in Manchester in order to jolt authorities into action. Its use among society’s most vulnerable and hidden people – care leavers, prisoners the homeless – meant public policy had been allowed to lag way behind, to catastrophic effect. Agencies were still not recording how many incidents featured Spice, despite it having long been documented – including by me, through FOI, in 2015. So I spent 6 months researching the Feb 2017 investigation. When use exploded onto the streets last Spring, reportage then seemed the most powerful response. It succeeded in its goal, to an extent. The public nationally now knows about this drug – and so do politicians, some of whom had apparently been oblivious. One survey placed Spice as the top priority among mayoral election voters in May.


Social media & audience response


John Harris

Until recently, Housing Associations were seen as uniformly philanthropic, morally-driven organisations. This run of work told a different story: about big London HAs, their increasing tilt towards hurried property development, and what that meant for their residents.
It began with an in-depth piece about the Orchard Village Estate in East London and the impossible living conditions people there experienced – which led to the resignation of the chairman of the UK’s largest Housing Association. That story sparked a deluge of emails and tweets which resulted in more coverage of badly-built London housing developments, the experiences of the people who live in them, and what their stories said about what many Housing Associations are turning into. In June last year, the Grenfell Tower disaster provided decisive proof of what these stories had highlighted: a culture of neglect and buck-passing, and its awful human consequences.

Social media content


Joe Plomin

Producer Director Joe Plomin’s films reveal the mistreatment of the most vulnerable people in society. His careful use of secret filming repeatedly delivers indisputable evidence of real, current ‘evils’. Undercover: Britain’s Immigration Secrets exposed abuse and even assaults at Brook House Immigration Removal Centre, widespread self-harm and people detained for months or even years as they await deportation. One boy was forced to test a batch of drugs by his cell mate. Since broadcast select committee hearings have begun in Parliament, the Home Office is investigating the company running the centre and its director has resigned. A criminal investigation is under way. Behind Bars, Prison Undercover helped reveal the truth about the crisis in Britain’s prisons, which prompted the Government to invest more.

Online content

G4S: What I saw when I went undercover

Kate Lyons

The New Arrivals project sought to understand the lives of the large numbers of refugees and migrants trying to build new lives in the UK. The project investigated the string of injustices facing newcomers to Britain, from the kafkaesque asylum process, the boredom and stress of limbo, the nature of life on £37 a week, and the inevitable connections between refugees and homelessness.
It has already unearthed several scoops: the scandal of clustering asylum seekers in poor towns, the travesty of the Home Office interview process, the failure to prepare properly for Syrian children arriving, and – the saddest revelation of all: children forced into homelessness by bureaucracy.

Video content

Social media content

David Cohen

There are 670,000 children in England living in families regarded as high risk whose privations are mostly invisible to the authorities. My special investigation – The Lost Childhoods – surfaces this otherwise unseen report by the Children’s Commissioner and depicts the tough lives of some of these forgotten children, such as child carers and children living in secret domestic abuse safe houses. My series generated a special debate in the House of Lords as well as a vociferous response from readers who also set up crowdfunding pages for several of the children featured.

Social media & audience response

Anna Minton

The material submitted consists of work investigating the causes and impact of the housing crisis, which followed my work on Big Capital: Who is London for?, my book on the housing crisis. The journalistic submissions include a ‘Long Read’ extract from Big Capital in the Guardian and two pieces for the Guardian on the causes and wider implications of the Grenfell fire. Also included is a podcast from an event at the London Review Bookshop and a video of a public debate on the housing crisis at the London School of Economics.

Video content

What is housing for? LSE public lecture

Audio content

Anna Minton in conversation with Oliver Wainwright, London Review Bookshop

Andy Davies, Anja Popp & Dai Baker

Channel 4 News aimed to highlight the reality of rough sleeping, by telling the story of one person who died on the streets of the UK. Andy Davies and his producer and cameraman pieced together the story of Lindy Pring, after seeing a brief mention in a student online newspaper of a woman’s death in a park in Cardiff. They found out her name, tracked down her partner who was living in a tent with her, and eventually persuaded her sister to describe Lindy’s path to homelessness. Through Lindy’s story, the TV and online work both personalises rough sleeping and sheds a light on the reality of life – and death – on the streets of a British city.

Social media content

Dawn Foster

Through weekly columns, a data and explainer series, social media and audio reporting, Dawn has worked to show the complexity of the housing crisis afflicting Britain, how it differs geographically, particularly focusing on how the poorest and most vulnerable in society are evicted, forced into arrears and have very little choice in housing. The predominant narrative on housing problems in the UK focuses on home ownership: Dawn has worked to amplify the voices of and problems affecting people for whom home ownership is unlikely to ever be an option: women fleeing domestic violence, families stuck in temporary accommodation or moved out of the borough they and their children are settled in, and households forced into rent arrears due to various government policies.

Journalistic Writing, Video and Audio Content

Rossalyn Warren

Rossalyn exposed how tabloids recycle the same stories with the same dozen or so single mothers claiming benefits over and over again, and how they work with agents to coordinate media coverage of people living in near poverty. Her story helped shape the British public’s understanding of the reality of benefit claimants vs the depiction in the media, one that fuels hatred for those on benefits, especially single mothers with many children. She tracked down and interviewed an agent who organises the press of one mother (she’s been in more than 50 stories about “scrounging” mothers in the UK in the last few years alone), but found he also helps fights her battles against the DWP. And speaking to charities, they say that she doesn’t represent the true extent of single parents on benefits.

Journalistic Writing and Social Media Content

Billy Kenber

Drug companies who preyed on the sick and vulnerable when they hiked prices for vital medicines by up to 12,500 per cent were exposed by a Times investigation whose impact will save the NHS hundreds of millions of pounds each year. Billy Kenber’s campaigning articles – more than 20 over six months – triggered a change in the law, a regulatory inquiry expected to result in huge fines and the near-bankruptcy of a billion-dollar pharmaceutical firm. At a time when the NHS is under unprecedented financial strain, he revealed how a small group of profiteering companies had exploited a loophole in pricing rules to impose dramatic price increases costing taxpayers an extra £262 million a year. Urgent legislation tabled by the government in response will enable the NHS to impose new price limits.

Journalistic Writing and Social Media Content

Daniel Taylor

Football’s sexual-abuse scandal has been described by the FA chairman Greg Clarke as the worst crisis he can remember and the biggest story within the sport for generations. That began with Daniel Taylor’s interview with former footballer Andy Woodward and has also seen him tell the stories of many other ex-players. By December 21 the National Police Chiefs’ Council had confirmed detectives were examining possible attacks on 429 people who had come forward since Taylor’s article, with 155 potential suspects identified and 148 clubs, at all levels, named. Taylor continued to play a central role via further exclusive news stories – revealing how warnings had been ignored by clubs – and his work has led to the creation of the Offside Trust, a new organisation supporting victims.

Journalistic Writing and Social Media Content

Ros Wynne-Jones

Ros Wynne-Jones has been leading the Daily Mirror’s opposition to the Bedroom Tax since its inception in April 2013. Dozens of stories in her Real Britain column, throughout the paper and online have shown not only its cruelty towards individual families, but its incompetence as a policy that does nothing to improve the national housing crisis. In extraordinary year, she followed families all the way to the Supreme Court, where some defeated the Secretary of State, and testified to the UN on their behalf. The campaign has also been run through the Mirror’s Facebook page, on twitter and in Parliament, alongside trade unions, and in unique collaboration with grassroots activist groups. Its also has spearheaded opposition against other welfare cuts.

Journalistic Writing and Social Media Content

Anna Hall, Erica Gornall & Louise Tickle

‘Behind Closed Doors’ was a one hour documentary broadcast in peak-time on BBC1 at 9pm on 14th March 2016. Three women waived their right to anonymity to allow their stories of domestic abuse to be captured over a year. Working with Thames Valley Police Domestic Abuse Units, the film explores not just physical violence but also shows the psychological, verbal and emotional control abusers have over their victims as the audience watches each victim trying to extract themselves from their perpetrators. The film also exposes the ordeals of going to court to seek justice – and the deep inadequacies in the criminal justice system as one abuser repeatedly walks free. The film was watched live by 3.1 million people and trended first on Twitter for over an hour on the evening of transmission.

Journalistic Writing, Video, Audio and Social Media Content

Ciaran Jenkins, Andy Lee & Lee Sorrell (Editor: Job Rabkin)

The reports expose the precarious and fragile nature of employment in Britain for almost a million people on zero-hour contracts who can be easily exploited by companies wanting a cheap and compliant workforce. Channel 4 goes undercover in JD Sports, Britain’s biggest sporting retailer. Their reporter was put on a zero-hours contract with an agency who supply hundreds of workers on minimum wage to its warehouse in Rochdale. Over 5 weeks their reporter worked gruelling 12 hours shifts. She’s told she’ll be sacked for sitting down, disciplined for missing targets, and must adhere to a “three strikes and you’re sacked” policy rigorously enforced by JD Sports staff. Airport style security checks can take up to 20 minutes and are unpaid, leaving workers effectively earning less than the minimum wage.

Journalistic Writing, Video Content and Social Media Content