This observational documentary series focuses on the real people behind some of the faceless statistics. Tonight’s second film is an intimate portrait of three young women, directed by Bafta-winning documentary-maker Morgan Matthews.
Sixteen-year-olds Becki, Stacey and Vanessa are close friends living in Rochdale, where unemployment rates are high and teenage pregnancy is above the national average. Filmed over 12 months, this film captures a coming-of-age period for the three young women.
Becki falls pregnant after just a few weeks of dating her boyfriend, Andy. Coming to terms with the reality of becoming parents, they are surviving purely on benefits. The couple can only afford the most basic housing and try to move out of their damp-ridden house during the week that Becki is due to give birth. Even when Andy finds a job, he is working for the minimum wage.
Rochdale was once a thriving centre for the textiles industry. However, the last of the cotton mills that provided mass employment closed down in the early Eighties. Vanessa often seems angry with her life and the lack of prospects on offer in her home town. She and Stacey both dream of joining the Army. But when told they won’t be allowed, because of medical reasons, their career prospects look bleak. They play truant more throughout their final year of school and eventually drop out without taking any GCSE exams.
The arrival of Becki’s baby puts a strain on her friendship with Stacey and Vanessa. Becki feels increasingly isolated as Stacey prefers to spend time with her new boyfriend or to go out partying with Vanessa. Stacey and Vanessa both swear they will never get pregnant so young. Despite this, before the end of filming, there are two more pregnancies among the group. And there is a surprise decision when one of them turns her back on Rochdale.
Monday 10 August
9.00-10.00pm BBC TWO