MODERN BRITAIN: Channel 5 announces two major documentary commissions on social housing in the UK

MODERN BRITAIN:  Channel 5 announces two major documentary commissions on social housing in the UK


  • Housing Yorkshire (w/t) is a brand new, timely, observational documentary series following the team managing more than 18,000 social housing properties
  • Estate Britain with Michael Portillo explores 50 years of council estates, and is the latest commission in the Modern Britain strand


Channel 5 today announces two topical commissions exploring social housing in the UK; a new intimate access series following the challenges and lives of people running social housing across Yorkshire, the UK’s largest geographic county, and a feature-length documentary on the history of the housing estate with Michael Portillo, as part of the Modern Britain strand.


Housing Yorkshire (w/t)

This brand new 3 x 60’ observational documentary series with exclusive access from Blast! Films, based in Brighton, follows the work of Yorkshire Housing, Yorkshire’s biggest, liveliest and most proactive housing association.  With responsibility across multiple locations throughout Yorkshire, the housing association owns more than 18,000 properties and looks after thousands of tenants. As housing associations have replaced councils as the main providers of new social housing in recent decades, the teams at the sharp end now have a broad remit; not only do they build homes and collect the rent but they also act as ‘counsellors and constables’, interceding to help their residents with important aspects of their life, from helping them get a job to advising on their finances.


They take an active role to ensure that neighbourhoods thrive and this can mean close contact with residents and fractured families – and where necessary a dose of tough love over unpaid rent and other problems. For many families in Yorkshire, this is their last chance of a home – and Yorkshire Housing is there to both support them – and make sure they play by the rules. The series is executive produced by Ed Coulthard and Sarah Spencer. Commissioning Editor is Guy Davies.


Michael Portillo charts social housing in 90’ Modern Britain documentary

Channel 5 has commissioned Transparent TV to produce Estate Britain with Michael Portillo, a feature length documentary charting the history of the housing estate, which follows recent commission Slum Britain: 50 Years On and upcoming Modern Britain documentaries Black Britain: 50 Years On and Rape (w/t). With social housing once again at the forefront of fierce political debate, and against a backdrop of council house habitation falling from 42% in 1979 to less than 8% today, the former Defence Secretary and  Minister of State for Local Government and Inner Cities meets the council tenants and residents who live on some of the UK’s most iconic estates.  His journey sees him chart the changes in population, legislation and social attitudes that have seen a once utopian ideal become what many believe is a symbol of social injustice and urban decay. The film is executive produced by Jazz Gowans for Transparent TV. Guy Davies is the Commissioning Editor.


Guy Davies, Commissioning Editor, Factual at Channel 5, commented: “Right now, social housing is at the top of the political agenda and these timely, sensitive and insightful documentaries will paint a picture of the changing face of housing and our estates across the UK. Housing Yorkshire offers a true insight into those at the sharp end of managing modern day social housing, with first class access, heart-warming stories and compelling characters, all with a distinctly Yorkshire flavour. And twenty years after leaving government, I can’t wait to see Michael Portillo’s take on the history and debate over social housing in the UK.  He’s the ideal presenter for this latest feature length commission in our Modern Britain strand.”


Michael Portillo commented on his forthcoming 90’ film: “The Grenfell tragedy has quite rightly focused attention on social housing. Public policy towards housing the nation has been through ups and downs over the years, with notable successes and deplorable failures. This seems, to me, a deeply appropriate time to discover how ideas and ideals evolved, and who benefited and suffered.”


Transparent TV’s MD & Creative Director, Jazz Gowans commented: “Michael’s passionate views about social housing, aligned with his background and insight, will help us to produce a thoughtful and thought-provoking film, offering history and context to a hugely important and topical subject.”