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.
A Century Films and Films of Record production for Channel Four
1 x 50 minutesPoetry and lyricsSimon ArmitageComposerDextrousSecond unit directorMorgan MatthewsCamerasSimon NiblettMichael TimneySaul GittensSoundAndy CottomMarc HatchEditorAlan MackayCo-producersKatie BailiffAmy FlanaganExecutive producerRoger GraefDirectorBrian Hill
WinnerBest Documentary, BAFTAs
WinnerBest Original Music for Television, Ivor Novella Awards
"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 is tremendous power in the way they deliver their message."The Observer