- Underneath the Arches (documentary)
:"For other uses, see
Underneath the Arches(disambiguation)""Underneath the Arches" was an award-winning documentary on BBC Radio Londonwhich broke tradition by enabling London’s homeless people to tell their own stories. The programme was presented by the homeless people themselves without any links from a programme presenter. Instead, short clips from catchy music hall songs were used to establish each location and, with careful editing, the interviewees related their own experiences and introduced each other. [Radio Times March 5–11 1977]
The programme revealed that people became homeless for a variety of reasons. Some had been victims of
poverty, some had been in prisonand were having difficulty returning to mainstream society; others had been battling unsuccessfully against alcohol abuseor drug addiction, and some were suffering from mental illness. The documentary also highlighted the lack of appropriate services such as hostels, drop-in centres and advice services.
The unique presentation by producer
Owen Spencer-Thomaswon the Unda award for the best religious radio programme in 1977. [ [http://www.ely.anglican.org/about/whos_who/owen_spencer-thomas.html] Diocese of Ely Official Website. URL accessed May 30, 2007.] He befriended many of the homeless people who featured in the documentary. Winning their confidence, he visited them as they prepared for another night sleeping rough on London's pavements. The publicity generated by the programme boosted funds for the " Crisis at Christmas" campaign and brought more volunteers to the charity which used a derelict church in Lambethto house and feed homeless people during Christmas week each year in the 1970s. [ [http://www.crisis.org.uk/page.builder/volunteer.html] Crisis website - volunteers. Accessed September 5, 2007] "Underneath the Arches" refers both to the railway arches at Charing Crosswhere many homeless people have slept rough, and to the music hallsong "Underneath the Arches".
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