Channel 4 gains exclusive access to British Consulates in Spain

by Lynn Connolly

Channel 4 has gained unprecedented behind-the-scenes access to some of the world’s busiest British consulates for brand new series Our Man In, made by Screenchannel TV.

The observational documentary series will follow the busy working lives of British Consuls and their staff in Spain in some of the busiest offices in the world – Alicante, Ibiza, Mallorca, Barcelona and Tenerife – as they cope with everything British holidaymakers and expats throw at them.

Spain receives more than 13 million British visitors every year, has more than 800,000 British residents and the British consular staff dealt with nearly 12,000 cases last year alone…

Everyone’s story is different – some have simply been unlucky, others careless, some criminal and some just plain silly – and consular staff are left to pick up the pieces of wrecked holidays, car crashes, crime incidents, drunken binges, deaths and the hundred and one things that can go wrong when Brits go abroad.

They are the people who will help when holiday makers and expats have no one else to turn to, can’t speak the language and are generally at their wits end.

Our Man In will be with them on the frontline as they deal with the huge number of cases they are confronted with during the height of the summer holiday season, and the cameras will accompany them whether they are visiting police cells, prisons, hospitals or hotels, 24 hours a day.

The 3×60 series was commissioned by Channel 4 Deputy Head of Features, Andrew Jackson and will air in 2012. It will be executive produced by Emma Barker and Peter Lowe, and series produced by Alicia Kerr.

Andrew Jackson said: “With never before seen access it’s great to be able to shine a light on this hidden world of our men and women on the consular front line tackling major and minor problems. With millions of Brits holidaying and living in Spain, the series is bound to be funny, moving, inspiring and surprising.”

Emma Barker said: “The Foreign Office has given us amazing access and been incredibly open with us and the series will show the wide range of issues that staff face and how they cope with some really demanding situations. In any one day the consular officers have to deal with the very best and worst of humanity, whether they’re visiting murderers in prison, dealing with unexpected deaths, or keeping a smile on their faces as they issue the twentieth lost passport of the day.”

© Channel 4

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Lynn is an editor and writer here at Unreality TV and is trained psychotherapist and the author of two books. She's addicted to soaps, period drama and reality TV shows such as X Factor, I'm A Celeb and Big Brother.