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BAFTA

Winner of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts Flaherty Award for Documentary and winner of the 49th Ivor Novello Award for Best Original Music for Television, 2003. Nominated for the Grierson Award for Best Documentary on a Social Issue

Channel 4

1 x 50 minutes
Transmitted 17 December 2002
A Century Films and Films of Record production for Channel Four

Poetry and lyrics
Simon Armitage
Composer
Dextrous
Second unit director
Morgan Matthews
Cameras
Simon Niblett, Michael Timney
and Saul Gittens
Sound
Andy Cottom and Marc Hatch
Editor
Alan Mackay
Co-producers
Katie Bailiff and Amy Flanagan
Executive producer
Roger Graef
Director
Brian Hill

 

 

Feltham Sings (2002)

“I always knew I’d end up in prison sooner or later. I just knew that my turn would come around.”

At the age of 19, Paul McBride is six months into his second prison term for burglary at Feltham, Europe’s largest young offenders’ institution. He was born in Holloway prison while his mother was serving a sentence there.

Paul’s life has followed a pattern that will not surprise anyone who has spent time with young offenders – absent father, criminally inclined family and friends, poor school attendance, addicted to crack cocaine by the age of 14, extravagant use of other drugs and alcohol, a taste for violence and crime.

Feltham Sings shows a group of young offenders in a new light. Traditionally, when a prisoner ‘sings’, it means betrayal. The prisoners of Feltham told us their dreams and their pain in song.

The experiences they sing about are dark and intense, but the fresh approach of poet Simon Armitage and director Brian Hill, played with the music of Dextrous allows us to see them as much more than car thieves, thugs and burglars.

 

“This documentary is a work of art, and the young offenders are its stars. Both in performance and interviews, their faces, stories and language compel attention. Banged up in their cells or dancing around their units, there's tremendous
power in the way they deliver their message.”

Janet Watts, The Observer.