Channel 5 looking to pull fast one on Croydon’s petty thieves

How others see us…

Oliver_Twist_06Earlier this week, there was a visit to Inside Croydon Towers by a television producer who had dared venture forth from his trendy offices in one of those fashionable “quarters” of east London in order to research a programme about the youth of Croydon.

He said he was “casting” for subjects for a documentary. We offered that we had never heard that word used in the context of journalism before, only for models, or fiction.

As we spoke, he eagerly scribbled down notes, apparently greatly interested. Until after a few minutes, with time clearly pressing, he looked up and said, “I’d love to get a Croydon rioter,” the look in his eyes imploring us to offer some sort of list of miscreants.

“They should all be out by now, shouldn’t they?” he asked. Going to Croydon was one thing, he seemed to be suggesting, but he was much less keen to have make a visit inside Wandsworth nick. He was soon on his way.

And then this morning, at the bottom of the bulging mailbag that Pat, our postman, drops off at IC Towers daily, we find a request from something calling itself “Channel 5 Television”. We understand this to be a TV station that may be owned by someone who has made his fortune from the sale of pornography.

The message reads:

“Channel 5 are”, immediately demonstrating a poor grasp of the basics of English grammar, “looking for pickpockets and shoplifters (current or former) for a new documentary.” So why are they interested in Croydon? Do they believe Trinity School to be some sort of 21st Century Fagin‘s den?

“We are looking for people who are willing to talk in an honest way.” There appears to be a contradiction in there somewhere.

“Our documentary focuses on your life, experiences and motivations and gives you a chance to express yourself in a non-judgemental way.” Yeah. You wouldn’t want to be judgemental about yourself. Just leave that to the gawping TV audience of a couple of million once the programme-makers have been judgemental for you…

“Anyone that contacts us will not be obliged to be on the show.” Meaning that if your story isn’t juicy enough, the producers reserve the rights to drop you from the edit.

“A financial contribution is available.” Oh right, so this is not going to be broadcast journalism of the highest ethical kind then?

Given all of that, we’d be surprised if anyone, whatever their murky past, would still want to contact the producers. But if you are, then: “If interested please email or call 0207 302 5457”.

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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email
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2 Responses to Channel 5 looking to pull fast one on Croydon’s petty thieves

  1. djfisher81 says:

    I have no love for Channel 5, and their cynical “documentary” concept deserves ridicule, but I can’t let your “poor grammar” gibe go unanswered.

    Collective plurals are acceptable in British English, although arguably these days they’re used mostly in informal contexts (e.g. sports teams). Having done a quick Google to check this, I wonder if it’s a journalism/style-guide thing? Anyway, as you were…

  2. mraemiller says:

    He said he was “casting” for subjects for a documentary. Maybe they should try the Brit School?

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