Lords A Living

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In this new series, Lords A Living, Ruth McDonald accompanies members of the House of Lords to the titular land of their peerage to meet the communities who live there now.

Does reality match-up to expectation for a peer who hasn't visited "home" in several decades, or has never been there at all? And what will "home" make of them?

In the first programme of the series Ruth McDonald accompanies the 22nd Earl of Shrewsbury and Waterford to the area he inherited - Waterford in the Republic of Ireland.

It's his first ever visit and one which he undertakes with great trepidation.

The last time he used his title in Ireland he was advised to keep it quiet! But as Lord Shrewsbury lands in the Republic in early October in 2010 it's clear Waterford - in common with every other part of the country - is reeling from what is now dubbed "Black Thursday".

The day the Irish government revealed the extent of the losses incurred by the Irish banks during the financial crisis.

It's an education for Shrewsbury as he comes face to face with the reality of the struggles of the Republic and the impact they've had on the life of this small city.

As he travels around this former industrial powerhouse it's clear Waterford is desperately trying to rebrand itself after the loss of its most iconic industrial name - Waterford Crystal; but there's still real anger at the failing of what was the city's biggest employer.

It's an interesting time too for a peer of the realm, and a throwback to the old Anglo-Irish relationship, to be visiting "home".

From his conversations with the city fathers to the "gallows" welcome at Spraoi, Ireland's largest community arts group, to his crash course in the sport of hurling and drinks in the local with ex-crystal workers, it's quite an eventful visit to what used to be Ireland's second city - the birthplace of the Anglo-Irish relationship.

The question is what will Lord Shrewsbury take away from this encounter and how will the citizens of Waterford react to this titled stranger?

Producer: Regina Gallen.

The Earl of Shrewsbury and Waterford visits the city of Waterford for the very first time.

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Ruth McDonald accompanies members of the House of Lords to the titular land of their peerages to meet the communities who live there now.

Does reality match-up to expectation for a peer who hasn't visited "home" in several decades, or never been there at all, and what will "home" make of them?

In this second programme, Ruth takes Baroness Richardson of Calow back to the village in North Derbyshire.

A life baron since 1998 it's been 52 years since Kathleen Richardson last lived here but Calow has left its mark on her.

In the place where her faith was awakened, its impact has proved pivotal to her career as a Methodist trailblazer - first female minister, bishop, and president of the Methodist conference.

But as she has changed and moved on, how has the village that shaped her altered?

From a catch-up at the United Reform Church where old faces and memories come flooding back, to the story of how the NHS rescued a former mining area, Baroness Richardson meets the people who live out their lives in Calow, including a session knotting with the scouts and bowling with the over 65s...

And as she sizes them up, the locals contemplate the arrival of their hitherto largely unknown peer: just what will Calow make of the Baroness and what will she glean from them?

Producer: Regina Gallen.

Baroness Richardson returns to the titular land of her peerage - Calow, North Derbyshire.

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Ruth Mc Donald accompanies Members of the House of Lords to the titular land of their peerages to access the communities who live there now.

Does reality match-up to expectation for a peer who hasn't been "home" in several decades, or never visited at all, and what will "home" make of them?

In this third and final programme Ruth accompanies Lord Brooke to Alverthorpe in West Yorkshire.

A life baron since 1997 and one of Tony Blair's first life peers, Lord Brooke was born into an aspirational working class area on the edge of Wakefield.

It was where he spent the first twenty-one years of his life, but as his life evolved to leading the civil service trade unions and now into the House of Lords it's clear he's carried some of that working class ethos with him.

But as Lord Brooke returns to spend a day in the community what will he make of the Alverthorpe of today? From pints in the working man's club where the world is set to right, to hanging out with local teens and the newly saved community centre, he discovers how the community spirit has been reignited...and the Alverthorpians in turn get to meet their peer.

However, as Lord Brooke's life has evolved to take in the higher echelons of government, just how has Alverthorpe changed and does he recognise the community he left behind some 50 odd years ago?

Producer: Regina Gallen.

Lord Brooke returns to the titular land of his peerage - Alverthorpe, near Wakefield.