Probably the last thing I’m going to blog about The Scheme

I’ve blogged about fly on the wall documentary series The Scheme a few times here, but the news that it’s now going to be broadcast in the rest of the UK made me want to add another bit.

Having seen the whole series now – including a final episode that made it very clear that the media attention had made some participants’ lives worse – the thing that struck me most about The Scheme was the sheer hopelessness of it all. The families weren’t entirely representative – the programme makers have chosen the most TV-worthy people, so you get people whose lives are slow-motion car crashes – but I’ve met enough people from similar situations to know that life for some people starts off shite and gets progressively worse.

It was summed up for me in one throwaway remark when a teenage boy was being sent back to prison – he hadn’t expected to be sent back so soon. Going back to prison was a given. The only thing that he could even slightly influence was the gap between incarcerations.

There’s an argument that by showing people rotating in and out of prison, trying and failing to get off drugs, self-medicating in various other ways and trying to find things for the local kids to do The Scheme was providing an important service: asking us to look at the affordability and availability of alcohol, for example, or the effectiveness of anti-drug legislation, regulation and intervention, or the links between unhappy childhoods and adult substance abuse, or the way in which some parts of Scotland have effectively been left to rot.

Then again, I know of somebody with real money and real power, riches of the “oh I don’t know, my butler takes care of that” variety. And to that person, The Scheme is quite simply the funniest programme ever made.

9 thoughts on “Probably the last thing I’m going to blog about The Scheme

  1. Mupwangle says:

    Out of interest, it’s only partially subtitled – only the people really slurring their words.

  2. mupwangle says:

    Hadn’t seen it before. Watched about 20 minutes of the latter half of the first episode. Couldn’t really see the point. Some of them complete dickhead types who I would avoid in real life (so why would I want to watch them?) and some people who are generally down on their luck who are stuck in a shitty situation, made worse by the dickheads.

    As I say, I only watched just under half, but it did seem that it was trying to say that everyone in this program is fucked except the ones who aren’t, but it’s only a matter of time. If I lived there I would be even more miserable after seeing the program.

  3. tm says:

    So uplifting is your post about the scheme that one of the other articles your blog suggest I might like is one of your one line “I’m away for a week posts”.

    There is a message in that somewhere…

  4. Squander Two says:

    > complete dickhead types who I would avoid in real life (so why would I want to watch them?)

    That’s the problem with such large swathes of TV programming these days. I blame Big Brother.

  5. mupwangle says:

    I was in a pub in Huddersfield when some of that year’s big brother lot (including the winner) came in. One of them was at the bar and was refusing to pay for drinks since she was a celebrity. Actually used the line “Don’t you know who I am?”, to which the barman replied, “Of course I do, that’ll be £20 please.” They stormed out. :-)

  6. Gary says:

    I caught some of Geordie Shore last night. I’m not sure what’s worse: being in it, or watching it.

  7. Gary says:

    Yes, these things don’t really tend to attract the nicest, smartest people in the world.

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