On the Streets Where We Live; Amira Hashish Meets Simon Ford, the Man Behind the Secret History of Our Streets. the BBC2 Series, Which Examines Residents' Stories in Six London Roads, Is Now Tipped for a Top TV Award

The Evening Standard (London, England), March 13, 2013 | Go to article overview

On the Streets Where We Live; Amira Hashish Meets Simon Ford, the Man Behind the Secret History of Our Streets. the BBC2 Series, Which Examines Residents' Stories in Six London Roads, Is Now Tipped for a Top TV Award


Byline: Amira Hashish

THE Secret History of Our Streets will do battle in the best documentary series category tomorrow at the Broadcasting Press Guild Awards. The BBC2 show, which tells the story of six London streets from the time social researcher Charles Booth's 19th-century maps were produced to the present day, is nominated alongside All in the Best Possible Taste with Grayson Perry (Channel 4) and Inside Claridge's (BBC2). Tough competition -- but it would be a worthy winner.

Also up for a Royal Television Society best history programme award on Tuesday, the six-part documentary received high praise from critics and proved compelling viewing when it first aired last June and is now being repeated every Tuesday on Yesterday.

"Each episode is about the particularities of a different street and the people who live there," says executive producer Simon Ford when we meet in central London's Market Place. "But the series is also about the universal issues they represent. Their stories reflect those of the nation."

South London born and bred, Ford, who was a producer at the BBC for 20 years, has done a superb job of portraying social change through touching tales that illustrate the tragically insensitive attempts by local councils to "clean up streets", wreaking havoc on the precious relationship between a community and its environment. The seed of the programme came from the groundwork of philanthropist Charles Booth, wealthy son of a manufacturer, who in 1886 embarked on an ambitious plan to visit every one of London's streets to record the living conditions of residents. His project took him 17 years.

On finishing, he had constructed a groundbreaking series of maps which recorded the social class and standing of inhabitants. It transformed the way Victorians felt about their capital. The Secret History explores how events of the past 125 years continue to shape the lives of those who now live on Deptford High Street, Camberwell Grove, Caledonian Road in King's Cross, Notting Hill's Portland Road, Reverdy Road in Bermondsey and Arnold Circus, Shoreditch.

"Joe Bullman [a co-director and creator] has always been fascinated by the Booth maps," says Ford. "Director Brian Hill and I knew his idea to make a programme about them was fantastic.

But we realised Booth was just the starting point and we had to plug into people's stories."

Each episode intersperses conversations and interviews with historical context. "We wanted to stay away from just speaking to people on their sofas and bring streets to life. We were keen that viewers got a flavour of what the roads are like now, so we filmed events, such as Diamond Jubilee street parties, that bring the community together."

SENSE OF COMMUNITY Ford was powerfully struck by the sense of community that still exists in London. What would he say to those cynics who suggest we live in a lonely city? "In London you can choose to be anonymous in a way that is almost impossible in the countryside, where everyone knows your business. The glorious old days of the East End, when everyone knew their neighbour, may have passed but there is still a sense of place there. People develop a really strong connection to an area that they make home." He says communities come out fighting when they are under assault from councils or building schemes -- you can join your neighbours in protest without having to know them intimately. "My biggest revelation was that although impersonal and arrogant authorities come close to breaking the spirit of so many places, beacons of community still survive. If we do another series I would like to explore that in more depth."

Despite his frequent irritation with councils and the damage done by their "ill thought-out" decisions, Ford's research reinforced how much their power has diminished. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

On the Streets Where We Live; Amira Hashish Meets Simon Ford, the Man Behind the Secret History of Our Streets. the BBC2 Series, Which Examines Residents' Stories in Six London Roads, Is Now Tipped for a Top TV Award
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.