On 17th October 2019 Jo McCafferty wrote:

BBC Radio 4's Front Row: social housing on screen

Many thanks to the Radio 4 Front Row team who curated an excellent show last night on the portrayal of social housing in popular culture (listen here). Writer and critic Matthew Sweet and I were invited to discuss the use of domestic settings and housing estates as the backdrop to films and TV series of all eras, in light of the recent Stirling Prize and Neave Brown Award wins for Goldsmith Street, by architects Mikhail Riches and Cathy Hawley.

There were plenty of interesting comparisons drawn from the filming of 'Beautiful Thing' (Hettie MacDonald, 1996) shot at Thamesmead as a sunny, optimistic idyll, with the joyous Mamas and Papas soundtrack, in stark contrast to 'A Clockwork Orange' (Stanley Kubrick, 1971), which used the same estate as the backdrop to the ultra-violent, dystopian view of society and moral breakdown. Mentions of the residential tower block featured in 'Mary, Mungo and Midge' and the use of Highgate Newtown by Peter Tabori in a series of gritty, urban dramas despite being a beautifully designed neighbourhood with a strong sense of community, completed the fascinating exploration.