House of Albion

Discussing life on a small island

Rich, famous and hopeless.

Wednesday, March 10.

I tuned into BBC’s new social experiment at 9pm last night for which Larry Lamb, Emma Parker-Bowles, Meg Matthews and Diarmuid Gavin gave up advantaged lives to live in council flats on £40 worth of job seekers allowance for four days. The premise being that even the most successful among us would struggle to find employment.

In the spirit of optimism I wanted to see whether the program would be a genuine attempt to uncover the issues faced by those of us caught in the poverty trap or yet another example of television bosses boosting ratings by getting minor celebrities to do stupid things

I feel compelled to report that I was pleasantly surprised, although I am still wondering what Emma wanted the Vaseline for!

The individual experiences highlighted real problems and coping strategies that emerge when people face these challenges.

Even Larry Lamb who, quite entertainingly, rebelled and spent his days reading the paper and taking strolls on the beach, inadvertently illustrated a mentality that emerges when doors are continually slammed in your face. He decided that if he had enough food and a roof over his head, attempting to find work was an unnecessary struggle.

For me, the crowning glory was how well the show demonstrated that, as human beings, we can endure all manner of hardship but it is the loss of hope that is the real killer.

Hope is a fragile flame that, when constant in a life, can drive us to carve out successful careers, raise families and overcome divorce or illness. It lights up our way and pulls us relentlessly ever onward toward our goals however challenging our circumstances.

When caught in the poverty trap it is easy to see how the light can go out.

The loss of that temporal guide is the most bitter and devastating that a human life can suffer and the aftermath of viewing Famous, rich and jobless left me with the feeling that there but for the grace of God, go I.

What did you think?

© House of Albion

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March 10, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment