Mel B, Trinny Woodall, Austin Healey and Keith Allen for ITV’s 7 Days On The Breadline

by Lisa McGarry

mel-b

Four famous people will step into the shoes of families living on low incomes in recession-hit Britain for a new ITV 1 series.

In the series Mel B, Keith Allen, Trinny Woodall and Austin Healey move into households on housing estates in Leeds, and in some cases even replacing a member of the household.

For seven days, they will try to cope on the budget of the different households they join. Each will engage with common issues important to residents such as community cohesion, identity and the challenges that arise from living on a low income.

Writing on her Twitter, former Spice Girl Mel B said: “It maybe raining in leeds but I still love it!! Started filming my tv show and it’s very very interesting to say the least!”

The series also aims to highlight issues ranging from long-term unemployment and role models for young people to the isolation felt by the elderly as the celebrities find out if they can cope away from the comfort of their usual lifestyles and even make a positive impact on some of the problems they may encounter.

In 2007, Lincoln Green, one of the areas where filming will take place, was identified as being in the top three per cent of deprived areas in the UK. Unemployment is almost twice the national average and two thirds of elderly people are classed as living in poverty. Despite this, there is a strong sense of community and it is by no means the worst area in the country. The series aims to explore poverty, an issue of national importance, affecting 13.2 million people.

Brighter Pictures have been consulting with charities and community groups in the development of the series.

Jo said: “We hope that exploring life at the sharp end of modern Britain in this personal and immersive way will bring home the challenges that are being faced on a daily basis by so many today and be an enlightening and enlivening experience for all involved.”

David Flynn and Phil Edgar-Jones are the series co-executive producers at Brighter Pictures, alongside series editor Jonathon Holmes:

Phil said: “It’s only by experiencing the budget and lifestyle of someone on a low income that you can truly understand the challenges that many people face every single day.”

David added: “Our celebrities are going to step into the shoes of people on the estate and it will be compelling to see how they cope and if they can make a difference. We hope the famous faces will learn much about their hosts, the communities they are staying in – and also themselves. And we’re confident both they and the residents will come away with a positive experience.”