Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Pick of the Night:

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Pick of the Night:

Article excerpt


The Secret Millionaire 9pm, Channel 4

Yet another variant on Channel 4's tried-and-tested identityswapping formula. Joy. Actually, The Secret Millionaire has an almost responsible backbone: it mixes the culture-clash reality format with philanthropy.

Tonight's secret millionaire, 26-year-old Ben Way (right), wants to use some of his cash to improve people's lives, so he is sent for 10 days to the Pedro Club in Hackney, which helps socially disadvantaged kids and is run by an inspirational bloke called Ufu.

Of course, this is telly, so Ben doesn't let on that he's loaded, or that he is about to hand out the cash.

He says he's making a film about what it's like to be a volunteer youth worker, and Ben's camera crew seems to encourage the locals to open up about their problems.

However, this is where Ben discovers the true extent of the social issues in neighbourhoods such as that of the Pedro Club, and worries that the area needs more than just a cash injection.

There's no doubt the Secret Millionaire is an admirable idea, and its "reveals" are properly tearjerking but, when you've stopped blubbing, you might want to ask whether it is really television's place to turn social responsibility into a reality-style prizegiving.

Evicted 10.40pm, BBC1

It's all very well Channel 4 handing out millionaires' cash to good causes (see left), but it would require several flocks of philanthropists to sort out the plight of British families following eviction.

It is almost 40 years since the drama Cathy Come Home showcased the harsh reality of homelessness, but it is still a huge problem, as this incredibly emotive film - shot from the point of view of children - explains.

In Devon, 13-year-old Charlotte's family's troubles began when their landlord decided to sell their property.

As this documentary was filmed, they found themselves without accommodation, desperately trying different local authorities and the charity Shelter in order to try to get a roof over their heads. …

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