The Untold

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20160201

In July last year, veteran Bristol DJ, Derek Serpell-Morris, known as "DJ Derek", went missing. He was last seen on CCTV camera leaving a pub, but after that, nothing. He might as well have vanished into thin air. His great niece, Jennifer Griffiths, used to be his PR manager, and for the last six months she has been the public face of the campaign to find Derek. Over those months, we follow Jennifer as she goes through the cycles of hope and despair, following leads that go nowhere and clues that seem to mean either everything or nothing. It's a detective story, but one where the final chapter is still unwritten. What does it do to a family to live with such uncertainty?

Presenter: Grace Dent

Producer: Jolyon Jenkins.

Battle Song20160606

Grace Dent tells the story of Deborah, a dynamic barbershop singer, in the lead up to the biggest competition of the year.

Deborah loves her family, her dog and, possibly most of all, barbershop singing.

She would drive hundreds of miles each week to sing in the best choruses in southern England. Now living in Christchurch, she sings with Wessex Harmony and music runs through the fabric of the house; her husband directs her current chorus, her daughter sings in her barbershop quartet and her desk drawers are stuffed with singing medals.

Once a year the Ladies Association of British Barbershop Singers holds a convention to find the country's most talented chorus. Over two thousand women in sparkling outfits and identical makeup and jewellery, are pitted against each other. And Deborah starts to plan for this wonderful weekend a year ahead.

But in May she finds a lump on her breast. It is cancer.

Grace follows her through the year, looking at what Deborah is prepared to do to compete, the risks she wants to take, the sacrifices the family are prepared to make and asks what happens if she doesn't get there.

Producer: Sarah Bowen.

Be My Baby20160307

Be My Baby20160307

Grace Dent presents untold stories of 21st century Britain.

After a week-long fling with a girl he met on Tagged, 21 year old Thomas is shocked to hear she is pregnant.

He stands up to the mark, offering support and going with her to the scans, but she suddenly cuts off all communication. She doesn't return his calls or messages and Thomas can only guess what is going on. Has he done something wrong? Does she just want to do this on her own? The ex- boyfriend has moved back so perhaps the child isn't actually his?

In October he sees a baby girl being pushed around town. He sees her photos on Facebook. He knows his life will change forever if he is found to be the father, but Thomas can't cope with not knowing.

He is going to court to force a DNA test to find out one way or another.

Producer: Sarah Bowen.

Be My Baby20160307

Grace Dent presents untold stories of 21st century Britain.

After a week-long fling with a girl he met on Tagged, 21 year old Thomas is shocked to hear she is pregnant.

He stands up to the mark, offering support and going with her to the scans, but she suddenly cuts off all communication. She doesn't return his calls or messages and Thomas can only guess what is going on. Has he done something wrong? Does she just want to do this on her own? The ex- boyfriend has moved back so perhaps the child isn't actually his?

In October he sees a baby girl being pushed around town. He sees her photos on Facebook. He knows his life will change forever if he is found to be the father, but Thomas can't cope with not knowing.

He is going to court to force a DNA test to find out one way or another.

Producer: Sarah Bowen.

Being Bowie20160215

Laurence Bolwell has been dressing as David Bowie and singing his songs on stage for 18 years. One Monday morning, early in January, he hears the news that his idol has died. That Friday night, he is due on stage with his act in a theatre in Carmarthen. Grace Dent tells the story of Laurence's week, and finds out what it's like to be a tribute artist the day your hero dies.

Producer: Chris Ledgard.

Child Rescue20160502

In the first of a new series of The Untold Grace Dent looks at the case and asks what you would have done?

Bahar and her Dad, Reza, fled from the Taliban in Afghanistan and made the journey across Europe to reach Calais. They have relatives in Leeds and had struck up a friendship with Rob Lawrie when he was working in the camp as a volunteer. At the end of his time there they begged for help and he agreed to put the little girl in the cabin of his lorry. His actions were foiled when sniffer dogs at the border found two Eritrean men who, unknown to him, had stowed in the back of his van. He faced a prison sentence of up to five years following his arrest.

Producer Sue Mitchell has been alongside him following his return from France. The January court hearing in Bologna was a media frenzy, with people across the world debating the rights and wrongs of his actions. He was found guilty of 'child endangerment' for his attempt to smuggle Bahar into Britain and was given a suspended fine of 1,000 Euros. But he has paid a heavy price for his actions on many fronts: his wife has left him, taking the four children with her and he now faces the task of rebuilding his own life whilst also trying to help Bahar and Reza reach Britain

He has struggled to cope and on his return he attempts suicide. He sold his carpet cleaning business to go to France, a move he took after seeing the images of three year old Syrian refugee Alan Kurdi. Because he was in care as a child he wanted to try and help other children neglected by the system. He has bi-polar disorder and staying well is difficult, but what eventually helps is the huge swell of public opinion in favour of his actions, with many well-wishers spurring him on and sending donations for those in the camps. This interest in his story and the prominence it gives to child refugees has sparked interest from Hollywood and longer term there might well be a movie.

But for now there are these recordings, made in the weeks following his return home as he contemplates his future and shares his story with the Untold, which is presented by Grace Dent.

Produced by Sue Mitchell.

Darkie Day: Michael And The Mummers20160222

Grace Dent presents untold stories of 21st century Britain. Young black film director Michael Jenkins is making a film about Padstow's Darkie Day. It's a long standing tradition where local residents black up their faces and process through the streets singing and dancing. The locals are defensive about their celebration which is part of their Cornish identity. Despite what outsiders think they say it has no racial overtones, but they did change the name to Mummers Day after complaints prompted MP Diane Abbott to call for the festival to be stopped. As a young Black British man Michael wants to experience it for himself and capture it on film. Will any of the town's residents accept his invitation to sit down and have an honest conversation with him about Darkie Day's origins and meaning? Is political correctness making it worse? This is a story where modern Britain meets medieval history in a clash of cultures.

Producer: Maggie Ayre.

Down's Syndrome: It's Just Two Words20160516

Salma is having a baby, but as the due date draws near she's forced to confront unresolved issues with her last pregnancy: her baby was born with Down's syndrome and she's yet to tell her in-laws. Grace Dent follows what happens.

The shock of the diagnosis and the way Salma was given the news contributed to a long period of struggle and shame. As she reveals in The Untold, she was fearful of letting others know what had happened and to this day she's still not been able to bring herself to tell her in-laws. For the first few months she didn't even tell her own parents as she feared that others would see her responsible and would feel differently about her, her husband and their children.

Following the diagnosis she lost confidence, wouldn't go out in public and cried constantly. The turning point came after a chance meeting with another Asian Mum whose son also has Down's syndrome. Soon Mariam had introduced her to a third mother in the same position, Bilkish, and the three women have formed a strong friendship.

Producer: Sue Mitchell.

Down's Syndrome: It's Just Two Words20160516

Down's Syndrome: It's Just Two Words20160516

Salma is having a baby, but as the due date draws near she's forced to confront unresolved issues with her last pregnancy: her baby was born with Down's syndrome and she's yet to tell her in-laws. Grace Dent follows what happens.

The shock of the diagnosis and the way Salma was given the news contributed to a long period of struggle and shame. As she reveals in The Untold, she was fearful of letting others know what had happened and to this day she's still not been able to bring herself to tell her in-laws. For the first few months she didn't even tell her own parents as she feared that others would see her responsible and would feel differently about her, her husband and their children.

Following the diagnosis she lost confidence, wouldn't go out in public and cried constantly. The turning point came after a chance meeting with another Asian Mum whose son also has Down's syndrome. Soon Mariam had introduced her to a third mother in the same position, Bilkish, and the three women have formed a strong friendship.

Producer: Sue Mitchell.

Down's Syndrome: It's Just Two Words20160516

High Stakes20160111

Grace Dent presents a new series documenting the untold dramas of 21st century Britain.

The stakes couldn't be higher for 26 year old Steve: he needs to prove he's quit gambling by Christmas in order to move back in with his partner and two kids.

Steve and Stacey met as teenagers ten years ago but Stacey kicked him out when she discovered he was gambling away thousands of pounds on smartphone apps. Things came to a head when Steve blew his entire wage packet in just one hour - on payday - leading Stacey and their children facing eviction.

Steve lost everything - can he win back Stacey's trust in time for a happy Christmas in the family home?

Producer: Laurence Grissell.

No Fixed Abode20160321

Grace Dent presents untold stories of modern Britain. Today, a tale of homelessness in Poole as we follow the life of Mel.

From a career in high finance, Mel has ended up sleeping rough in the stairwell of a multi storey car park. We follow her daily - and nightly - routine as she tries to survive with no fixed abode.

Events conspire to raise the stakes for Mel and the need for a roof over her head becomes more urgent than ever.

Producer Neil McCarthy.

Sanjeev - Saviour Of Steel?20160328

The British steel industry is in meltdown. But one person believes he has worked out how to make it profitable, and he's investing millions. Grace Dent and her producer zoom in on events to try and discover his secret. At stake are thousands of jobs, so does Sanjeev have what it takes to make British steel rise again?

Producer: Melvin Rickarby.

Stacey Jackson: Chasing Dreams20160229

Grace Dent follows pop star and mum Stacey Jackson as she launches a career in business.

Stacey Jackson is no ordinary working mum - she's a successful pop star with a very wealthy husband. But for Stacey, that's not enough. She's about to launch a career in business. Why does she keep chasing new dreams when she already has all the money anyone could wish for?

Producer: Sara Parker.

Strictly Come Langport20160118

Strictly Come Langport20160118

Grace Dent presents a new series documenting the untold stories of 21st century Britain.

Langport in Somerset has a secret. Not a dark secret, quite a happy one really - a dance competition to blow away the winter blues. Grace Dent and her producer zoom in on events and discover a classic tale of good vs evil - a sparky 70 year old widow called Mo doing the salsa; and opposing her a tango-ing video technician called Ferg. At stake, a small silver trophy and eternal local glory. So who will win Strictly Come Langport this year?

The producer is Miles Warde.

Strictly Come Langport20160118

Grace Dent presents a new series documenting the untold stories of 21st century Britain.

Langport in Somerset has a secret. Not a dark secret, quite a happy one really - a dance competition to blow away the winter blues. Grace Dent and her producer zoom in on events and discover a classic tale of good vs evil - a sparky 70 year old widow called Mo doing the salsa; and opposing her a tango-ing video technician called Ferg. At stake, a small silver trophy and eternal local glory. So who will win Strictly Come Langport this year?

The producer is Miles Warde.

Tainted Love20160208

Grace Dent tells the story of Jean, 73, who's being harassed by her 80 year old estranged husband, George. After over 40 arrests, a judge must decide whether George's actions are the result of dementia.

Jean and George finally split up in early 2015 after nine years of unhappy marriage. But for George, that wasn't the end of their relationship. For months, George has been harassing Jean: writing her love letters, verbally abusing her and coming to her flat trying to gain entry. Jean now feels like a prisoner in her own home, scared to go out alone.

Despite over 40 arrests, George won't keep away. As the day of George's court appearance approaches, a judge must weigh up whether George's actions are deliberate or if they stem from dementia.

Producer: Laurence Grissell

The Funeral20160523

Mandy was shocked to discover how much the funeral for her ex-husband was going to cost. But she was also determined that her three children should not be forced to carry the cost alone. Matt the eldest is her carer, and legally liable for all costs, but his carer's allowance was never going to cover the costs - embalming, cremation, flowers, the hearse. So the idea of a fundraising day at the local pub slowly emerged. But despite the best efforts of the community, Mandy and Matt still struggle to settle the bill.

And more bills keep coming in.

Grace Dent presents one family's struggle to grieve for their dead father while dealing with the spiralling price of his death.

The producer is Miles Warde.

The Funeral20160523

The Funeral20160523

Mandy was shocked to discover how much the funeral for her ex-husband was going to cost. But she was also determined that her three children should not be forced to carry the cost alone. Matt the eldest is her carer, and legally liable for all costs, but his carer's allowance was never going to cover the costs - embalming, cremation, flowers, the hearse. So the idea of a fundraising day at the local pub slowly emerged. But despite the best efforts of the community, Mandy and Matt still struggle to settle the bill.

And more bills keep coming in.

Grace Dent presents one family's struggle to grieve for their dead father while dealing with the spiralling price of his death.

The producer is Miles Warde.

The Funeral20160523

The Gold Man20160314

The Gold Man20160314

Grace Dent presents a new series documenting the untold stories of 21st century Britain.

Today she follows the Gold Man of Farnworth market as he tries to save his business. John Hill is a gold trader who set up a stall at a traditional market, in Farnworth near Bolton, six years ago. He is a big character who isn't afraid to fight for what he believes in. John turned his back on an IT career to run his own stall and has led the battle to keep the traditional market going but now the local Council has written to John and his fellow traders to tell them their time is up: February 26th is their last day. John has consistently come up with alternative plans to keep the market going but, right now, it looks as if he will be the last man fighting. He needs a new site to keep his tribe of traders together but that means getting the council's permission and the other traders on side. Grace Dent wants to know if John can persuade them to go with him as he searches for hope, even at the 11th hour.

Producer: Karen Gregor.

The Gold Man20160314

Grace Dent presents a new series documenting the untold stories of 21st century Britain.

Today she follows the Gold Man of Farnworth market as he tries to save his business. John Hill is a gold trader who set up a stall at a traditional market, in Farnworth near Bolton, six years ago. He is a big character who isn't afraid to fight for what he believes in. John turned his back on an IT career to run his own stall and has led the battle to keep the traditional market going but now the local Council has written to John and his fellow traders to tell them their time is up: February 26th is their last day. John has consistently come up with alternative plans to keep the market going but, right now, it looks as if he will be the last man fighting. He needs a new site to keep his tribe of traders together but that means getting the council's permission and the other traders on side. Grace Dent wants to know if John can persuade them to go with him as he searches for hope, even at the 11th hour.

Producer: Karen Gregor.

The TB Test20160530

Grace Dent follows the story of a fourth generation Herefordshire beef farmer during his most stressful time: the TB Test. Matthew Oliver wants to sell around fifteen cattle at a local market, but to do this they have to be free of TB. It's a nervy time both for Matthew and his 87 year old mother - they have failed the test before. If the TB test is positive, cattle movement is banned for 120 days, the affected animals all culled. The farm, set up by his great grandfather in 1892, is in a high-risk area and Matthew knows local farmers who have never been free of TB; one neighbour was forced to leave farming altogether. So the stakes are high for Matthew, and the future of his family farm.

Producer: Karen Gregor.

The TB Test20160530

Todmorden Under Water20160125

Grace Dent documents the untold dramas of 21st century Britain.

Boxing Day, 7.30am: flood sirens sounded in Todmorden, West Yorkshire.

As the waters rose rapidly, Mandy and Paul faced a unique rescue mission. They share their terraced house on the outskirts of Todmorden with their student daughter, her boyfriend, three dogs, four cats and 27 tortoises.

The Untold follows them as they attempt to meet their first objective: getting one room clear of the water so that they can close the door on the chaos in the house and take stock.

Sharing this one room with their many pets, they face numerous challenges. The town is cut off, roads are closed, they have elderly relatives in need of care, and a baby tortoise in need of emergency treatment, after it was stepped on in the chaos. Mandy also stands in the road, asking drivers to quell their speed: moving vehicles create waves which add to the water in the house.

As the rain eases, The Untold finds out how Mandy and Paul try to restore some normality to their world under water.

Producer Sue Mitchell.