In this new series of Hidden Britain by Drone, history and travel enthusiast, Sir Tony Robinson, uses the latest aerial filming technology to show us new aspects of our country in a completely different way.
Dispatching flying cameras of every shape and size, Tony opens up the far reaches of Britain. He soars above historic sites normally closed off to visitors, gets behind the doors of some of our biggest British brands, explores some top-secret military locations, and finds unexpected hidden treasures in pockets of our rolling countryside.
Join Tony and his drones in an aerial adventure of Hidden Britain.
In this episode Tony Robinson sends his drones around an immense stately home, into the underground wine vaults of billionaires, and around an abandoned theme park. The drones discover the backroom secrets of Argos, and delight in a stunning flower farm fully in bloom, hidden away for fifty weeks of the year.
As the crisis on Britain's high street grows, big brands are going bust or axing thousands of jobs and stores. Caught up in the maelstrom is Poundstretcher, one of Britain's oldest discount stores. The stakes couldn't be higher for the family-owned chain with 6,000 jobs and the family’s fortune tied up in the business. In need of some expert help Aziz Tayub and his three sons are bringing in retail guru Chris Edwards as a new CEO. His brief: to save the company.
Chris built his own chain of discount stores - 'Poundworld' – from nothing, eventually selling two years ago for more than £150 million, so he's familiar with the problems facing the company. But, as he jumps in feet first, he hadn't bargained on how bad things were: “If all the stores are like this then I would have said to Aziz you're wasting your time!”
Rolling up his sleeves Chris teams up with middle son, Shehzad Tayub, to set about streamlining the range of products being bought. This puts him in immediate conflict with boss Aziz, the arch-buyer of a huge variety of unusual and niche products. In a tense standoff Chris and Shehzad battle to persuade Aziz to change tack.
But what’s on the shelves is only part of the problem. Many of the company’s stores are in a pitiful state and earmarked for closure, as Chris discovers, when he gets to grips with one of the worst - Bolton's High Street Poundstretcher store. But here, to his surprise, he uncovers the reason for Poundstretcher's resilience: extraordinarily dedicated staff. Feisty store manager, Tracey, views her team as part of the family and will do anything to keep her store open – working all hours and even wandering Bolton's streets with a chalkboard advertising the great offers in her store. With Chris's help and a huge amount of work Tracey wins a reprieve for her store.
With round one barely over Chris now knows that to save Poundstretcher he’s going to have to overhaul the business from top to bottom - stores, systems and personnel. He’s got backing from Shehzad, one of the Aziz’s sons, but already opposition is mounting.
There are over 400,000 high rise flats in England, but families rarely make them their homes. This revealing, moving and warm two-part documentary follows eight children who explain what it is like for young person growing up in a tower block community.
Covering tower blocks in the North and South of the UK, children give their humorous perspective on life and how they are full of inspiration and hope as they start out in life. Some of their parents however share their different perceptions of living in tower blocks as the reality of living in cramped conditions is a daily challenge. The documentary asks how to maintain these children’s sense of hope to keep their passion, dreams and ambitions alive.
In the first part we meet a family from the North of England who have four children, eldest Jordan has her first GCSE looming, but sharing a bedroom with her younger sister Lexie isn’t ideal when she needs to revise. Younger brothers Harley and Kyron don’t get much quiet time either as antisocial behaviour on the estate is keeping them awake at night. For the first time, 9-year-old Harley will be spending a week away from his family as he heads to Whitby on a school trip.
In the South of England brother and sister Blake and Drew are growing up in a Tower Block. They’re both animal mad, but the lack of a garden means they’ve had to get creative with their choice of pets.
Meanwhile we meet another family who are struggling for space as four kids face the prospect of sharing one bedroom. For now brothers Hayze and Soul aged 10 and six share a room with their eight-year-old sister Faith, but with baby Zion looking to move out of mum and dads room soon, the whole family are worried what the future brings as the kids grow up.
While life may not always be simple, this documentary reveals how life in the sky is a different world for tower block kids.
Most of the 70000 prostitutes working across the UK are desperate to change their lives. In this powerful film we deliver searingly honest first hand accounts of those young people who are selling sex on the streets. They take us on a journey to a dark world- ravaged by addictions and trapped in a lifestyle they cannot escape. We also join some of the incredible volunteers who try to save them- and hear the harrowing account of one woman’s path off the streets and away from addiction.
Episode 2: Making America Safe Again?
Donald Trump promised to be the law and order president and make the USA safe again. To witness the “American carnage” Trump described in his inauguration speech, Ed heads to Opelousas, one of the most dangerous cities in Louisiana, the state with the most gun murders in America.
To find out if the President is delivering, Ed partners up on patrol with Trump-loving Sheriff's Deputy Ryan, and soon discovers the realities of policing an area with lenient gun laws, where every household owns a firearm.
Ryan takes Ed to meet a bunch of new rookies who are learning how to defend themselves out on the streets but quickly regrets offering to have a go, when he realises it means getting shot in the backside with a Taser gun. Keen to meet the criminals they’re up against, Ed finds himself donning an ill-fitting orange jumpsuit and being locked up for a night in the local jail, where he meets some unlikely supporters of the President.
Trump vowed to protect America’s guns laws and is a staunch supporter of powerful pro-gun lobbyists, the NRA, so Ed travels to Austin, in gun-toting Texas, to find out why so many Americans are obsessed with their firearms. His stay with gun trainer Michael takes an unexpected turn, when he ends up in a dance-off in a gay club.
After a heated radio show debate with Texans who say they are willing to kill for their guns, Ed decides to travel to Parkland, Florida, where just two weeks earlier, a 19-year-old armed with a semi-automatic assault rifle, murdered 17 students and teachers at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
Through their grief, the Parkland students have become a political force, starting the #NeverAgain movement and campaigning directly to Trump for gun control. Hopeful that the President appears to be considering the students' demands, Ed arrives in Parkland to meet some of the victims of the tragedy, and find out if Trump is going to seize his chance to make America safer.
Vet nurse Fay’s home and work lives collide when she has to bring her beloved pet chicken Hoodie into work, to investigate why she’s so unwell. Treating a friend and colleague’s pet makes it all the more emotional for the team as they fight to save Hoodie’s life.
Fay’s not the only member of staff with a sick pet. Student nurse Lauren brings in her tortoise Dave who’s been off his food and has a squishy shell.
And the worried owners of an elderly greyhound rush their beloved dog to the vets for an emergency appointment after he loses the power in his back legs. He’s struggling to walk, and the team are worried the dog may have a nasty spinal injury.
The surgery turns into a blood bath when family dog Murray is rushed into the clinic bleeding heavily from the tail. After injuring himself on a walk, Murray has lost all the skin off the end of his tail, leaving the bone exposed. He needs emergency surgery to have part of his tail amputated.
Worried owner Doreen brings in her brand-new parakeet after they notice he’s been pulling his feathers out. Close examination reveals the bird has had its wings brutally clipped by its previous owners leaving the bird distressed and disfigured.
And monitor lizard Darwin has trouble with his toes. He’s not shedding his skin properly on his feet and if the vets can’t find a way to help, Darwin could lose his toe forever.
Mugsy the Rhodesian Ridgeback lives with his owners at the local zoo, but recently he’s had a plethora of health problems. After sharing his home with a cheetah that was being hand reared, he developed a stress related condition that led him to lose all his nails. Next, he needed an operation for a slipped disc and now he has a suspicious lump on his leg. Is poor old Mugsy’s luck going to change?
Pedro the parrot gives the vets a shock when they see how much weight he’s lost. He’s been showing some worrying symptoms and the vet needs to have difficult discussion with his owners.
And 12-week-old Patch the puppy is rushed in for an emergency appointment after having a fall at home. His 11-year-old owner and her mum are concerned he might have concussion.
Rufus, an aging but much-loved cat, has a growth in his mouth that needs urgent treatment, but he also has a heart condition which makes any anaesthetic risky. There’s tension in the operating theatre when the procedure doesn’t go quite to plan.
Rex and Smudge are two tearaway rats who just won’t stop fighting each other for dominance. Their owner hopes that if they have the snip it might just calm them down.
And Kite the puppy looks like butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth, but he’s already proved too much of a handful for his first owners who gave him up when he started to bite. Clive needs to advise his new owners on how to manage this puppy who’s been behaving badly.
A 4-month-old terrier Aggie has a hidden health condition which could be life threatening. The vets suspect she has a heart problem so bring in a specialist to scan her heart. For her owners it’s a heart-wrenching time as they wait for the results of these vital tests.
Paris, the working goshawk, comes into the clinic with a badly damaged foot. The bird of prey is recovering from surgery to repair a broken toe, but will she be able to work again?
And a young reptile owner brings in his beloved bearded dragon who has a rather embarrassing problem. Ocho, has bowel problems and 12-year-old Finley is worried he may have parasites.
The team of inventors are challenged to come up with ways to change the lives of three more inspiring individuals who are facing difficulties in their everyday lives.
12-year-old Pollyanna lost her leg in a horrific accident when she was just two years old. She was waiting at a bus stop with her mother and grandmother, when a bus careered into them killing her grandmother and seriously injuring her and her mother. In the last ten years she has had 21 operations and been fitted with more than 20 different prosthetic legs as she has grown up. Despite the challenges she’s faced, Pollyanna has a determination not to let her disability hold her back from achieving her goals, including her dream of becoming a ballerina. But the ballet world is unforgiving and Pollyanna has been marked down in exams for being unable to do moves that would involve her missing leg, including going up on her toes – or demi-pointe. Engineer, Yusuf Mohammed, takes up the challenge to build her a prosthetic leg with the required movement in the foot.
73 year-old Bobby was born with brittle bone disease which has gradually resulted in him losing his hearing. Then nerve endings in his ears are too damaged to have a hearing aid and Bobby’s friends have known him since before he went deaf so they’ve never learnt to communicate with him through sign language. Due to advancing age, his lip reading skills are in decline and he struggles to understand anyone other than his wife, Linda. In social situations this means that she must stay by his side and try to relay conversations – an arduous task which makes socialising increasingly difficult. Technologist and software engineer, Akram Hussein, jumps at the chance to see if he can help Bobby re-join group conversations with his friends. And he’s willing to go the extra mile - even getting his ears temporarily filled with silicone so that he can experience what life is like for Bobby.
Tobijah was paralysed from the chest down in a car accident. The accident severely damaged his spinal cord and the signals from his brain no longer reach the nerves in his hands. As a result, he’s no longer able to open and close his fists or pick things up. Whilst recovering in hospital he met his partner, Sam. They now have a 3 year-old-daughter, and Tobijah longs to be able to enjoy some of the everyday father and daughter activities that most able-bodied people take for granted. Before his accident he was a keen cook, so he’d particularly love to be able to bake a cake with her and prepare meals for his family. Materials expert Zoe Laughlin works with Tobijah to try and find a way for him to take control in the kitchen. Together they manage to fashion some bespoke handles that will enable him to hold utensils, but if he’s going to be able to cook anything from scratch she needs to come up with a way to give him back much finer motor skills needed to follow recipes , including the ability to pick up and crack open eggs.
The nature of crime in the UK is changing and countering the complex offending of organized criminal groups is one of the biggest challenges prosecutors face. This film follows the work of Eran Cutliffe, a senior prosecutor at the Crown Prosecution Service, over nearly 2 years, as she tries to build a case that will break new legal ground. What she’s tackling is happening in plain sight up and down the UK’s high streets – child trafficking and exploitation.
In gang-run nail bars, unsuspecting customers are having their nails painted by underage Vietnamese girls, who have arrived in the UK in containers or lorries and are moved around the country to work as slaves. Children found by police and immigration officers at nail bars are placed into foster care but they often run away and return to the network, making it even harder for the authorities to help them and to bring to justice those exploiting them.
The Modern Slavery Act was passed in 2015 in a bid to tackle new forms of slavery. But the way in which the new law deals with the exploitation of children has never been tested in court. For this landmark case Eran joins forces with barrister and Human Trafficking expert, Caroline Haughey. The pair works together with Staffordshire and Avon and Somerset police, as the case grows.
The girls found in the nail bars do not see themselves as victims. As illegal immigrants, with no other options, they are happy to be fed and housed and work for free. As Eran hears more accounts from the girls, the similarities between their stories make her suspect that the network is coaching the girls in what to say if they are questioned by the police. How do you bring a prosecution when the victims are missing or their credibility as witnesses is drastically undermined? This film reveals the true complexity of the puzzle the police and CPS must piece together as they attempt to get to the very heart of a criminal gang who trade children as commodities.