12 Mar 2014

The BBC One series, Famous, Rich and Hungry, shines a much needed light on the reality of poverty and the harm it does to millions of people -- including children -- in the UK, according to The Children’s Society.

The two-part film, commissioned by the BBC for Comic Relief’s Sport Relief season and being broadcast on Wednesday and Thursday at 9pm, exposes many of the problems that trap families in poverty: rocketing fuel costs, rising food prices, unaffordable childcare, the cycle of debt and such unexpected events as the death of a partner or severe illness. 

Lily Caprani, Director of Strategy and Policy at The Children’s Society who acted as an on-screen advisor to the programme, said: 'This programme has the courage to expose the quiet violence of poverty. The injustice of some children getting all they need while others go without is intolerable.

'Too often the desperate effects of poverty are dismissed and denied, with those affected demonised and made to take the blame for their situation.  This programme is an incredibly effective way to reach millions of people and cut through so much cynical chatter with the hard truth about UK poverty.”

Lily Caprani said: 'Famous, Rich and Hungry gives millions of viewers the opportunity to see what life is really like for thousands of families up and down the country, many of whom are struggling with debt.' 

The documentary is being broadcast as The Children’s Society prepares to launch a major investigation into debt and poverty next month. 

The Children’s Society,  in its latest report, Behind Cold Doors: The chilling reality for children in poverty, found that this winter about 500,000 families said they would likely have to take a loan out in order to help them with the costs of heating their home. And more than three million families this winter were likely to cut back on food so they could pay their energy bills.


Media enquiries

For more information, please call Beth Herzfeld in The Children’s Society media team on 020 7841 4422, 07775 812 357 or email beth.herzfeld@childrenssociety.org.uk. For out-of-hours enquiries please call 07810 796 508.

Notes to editors

  • Famous, Rich and Hungry airs on Wednesday 12 and Thursday 13 March, BBC One, 9.00pm.
  • 3.5 million children in the UK are living in poverty.
  • Six in 10 children living in poverty are in low-income working families.
  • By 2020 – the year by which the government committed to end child poverty – an estimated 800,000 more children will be living in poverty than today according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  • More than half of all children in poverty – two million -- are missing out on crucial help that could keep them warm. See our UK-wide Warm Home Discount map. 
  • A typical family with two children heating their home to the recommended 21 degrees Celsius, spends £1,403 a year on energy bills according new analysis from the Association for the Conservation of Energy produced for The Children’s Society. For a family not in work, this is more than 10% of their income.
  • Free school meals are a key way to help tackle child poverty. Although the government has made a significant step forward in making them available to all children in infant schools, 500,000 children over the age of seven living on the breadline will still miss out.
  • The Children’s Society is supporting the first ever Children’s Commission on Poverty. It is being led by a panel of 16 children and teenagers from across England, ranging in age from 12 to 19 who are leading an 18-month investigation into child poverty in the UK. It provides a crucial platform for children to speak out about what poverty is really like and reveal, through their own eyes, the day-to-day challenges they face and what needs to be done.
  • Love Productions is a UK-based independent production company set up in October 2004 that specialises in thought-provoking, entertaining television for the UK and internationally. The senior editorial team has a proven track record in documentaries, factual entertainment, entertainment, features and daytime. It has made award-winning documentaries, devised formats which have sold around the world and produced long-running returning series for all the major UK broadcasters.
  • Comic Relief is a UK charity, which aims to create a just world, free from poverty. The money raised by Comic Relief, through its fundraising campaigns Red Nose Day and Sport Relief as well as other initiatives, is spent at home in the UK and across the world to help people, families and whole communities stand on their own two feet.
  • The Children’s Society wants to create a society where children and young people are valued, respected and happy. We are committed to helping vulnerable and disadvantaged young people, including children in care and young runaways. We give a voice to disabled children, help young refugees to rebuild their lives and provide relief for young carers. Through our campaigns and research, we seek to influence policy and perceptions so that young people have a better chance in life. Someone who acts on their behalf and can help guide them through the extremely complex system. These children deserve to be kept safe so they can recover from the trauma they have suffered and rebuild their lives.