Channel 5 has confirmed a season of documentaries examining social housing in Britain today beginning at the end of March with Grenfell Tower: Minute by Minute and concluding with On the Estate With Michael Portillo (WT).

The social housing season will contain a mix of original commissions and acquired programming charting the history of social housing, the challenges facing tenants and the everyday realities on the UK’s housing estates.
The season starts with Grenfell Tower: Minute by Minute commissioned by Daniel Pearl for Channel 5 from ITN Productions. The 1 x 60’ documentary tells the story of some of those who were caught up in the fire, told by those who survived as well as the friends and family who were in touch with those trapped in the tower during those desperate hours. The film pieces together a picture of events as the fire took hold – using interviews with survivors, witnesses and relatives of those killed in the blaze, as well as video footage gathered on the night and in the immediate aftermath. Grenfell Tower: Minute by Minute is exec produced by Andy Dunn and George Waldrum.
Social Housing, Social Cleansing is an acquired film by film maker Paul Sng from Velvet Joy Productions. This feature length documentary explores the story behind the neglect, demolition and regeneration of council estates in the UK over the past 30 years.
Somewhere Called Home – Housing Yorkshire is a new 3 x 60’ observational documentary series commissioned by Guy Davies from Blast! Films. With access to Yorkshire Housing it follows the staff and tenants behind one of Yorkshire’s biggest and most proactive housing associations.  
Also commissioned by Guy Davies and produced by Transparent Television is On The Estate with Michael Portillo (WT) In the feature length documentary, Michael Portillo investigates the story of the social housing revolution from the birth of the first council estate in the slums of London’s East End over a century ago to the great tower blocks, Portillo traces the rise and fall of the British council estate. On The Estate with Michael Portillo (WT) is exec produced by Jazz Gowans.
Commissioning Editor Daniel Pearl said: “The awful tragedy at Grenfell Tower was a once in a generation event. It truly shocked the nation and prompted a much needed debate around the quality and quantity of social housing in this country. As that debate continues it’s essential that we don’t lose sight of the impact of the fire on the community of Grenfell. This documentary re-tells the story of how the fire developed minute-by minute from the perspective of those who were there through first person testimony and user generated content.”
Commissioning Editor Factual Guy Davies said: “This season pulls together strong views and strong storytelling to explore how and why social housing has risen to the top of the national agenda. Grenfell was arguably the moment that Britain truly woke up to the issue, and this cluster of programmes identify the arguments and explore both the challenges faced by society and the decisions our leaders need to consider.  Above all, as part of our ‘Modern Britain’ programming strand, Channel 5 wants to explore social housing through the eyes of those living and working on the frontline.”

Jon Creamer

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