Southwark Council has given a TV crew access all areas for the new Channel 4 series, Council House Britain, airing tonight.

The six-part show promises to be a revealing look at the state of the country’s social housing market from the inside. Two years in the making, cameras follow housing officers, pest controllers and cleaners around the south London borough, the largest social housing landlord in the country, with 10,000 people on its waiting list.

As nearly 40% of Southwark’s population live in 55,000 properties managed by the council, there should be plenty of material, and the series is set to highlight a range of issues from hoarders and environmental health officers dealing with an empty flat with a fridge full of cockroaches, to families fighting eviction.

Show producers say that with behind-the-scenes access to both council workers and their tenants, the series is bursting with characters and their stories, and “provides a warm, uplifting and at times jaw-dropping glimpse into what it takes to find and keep a place to call home”.

Councillor Peter John, leader of Southwark Council, says he’s excited to share the documentary with the world.

“Council officers are often the unsung heroes of the public sector, but just as COVID-19 has revealed the important work our rubbish collectors and social care workers do, Council House Britain will show the country how passionate and committed our housing teams are,” says John.

“I’m grateful to Channel 4 for shining a light on the challenges councils and residents are facing after years of austerity and celebrating the many wonderful and unique people who call Southwark home.”

Southwark Council recently made headlines when it was the first council in the UK to set up its own tenant’ union.


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