Tower Block of Commons

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Politicians swap their comfortable homes and move into council estates across the country, encountering first-hand the reality of residents' lives

About the Show

Politicians swap their comfortable homes and move into council estates across the country, encountering first-hand the reality of residents' lives

Series 1 Summary

Four MPs leave behind the splendour of Westminster and their comfortable homes for eight days and nights to live in council tower blocks estates in some of Britain's most deprived neighbourhoods. They come face-to-face with issues affecting the residents' lives, including gangs, immigration, drug addiction, poverty, crime and unemployment.

  • The MPs involved

    Episode 1

    After a year of political crises, with the expenses scandal, financial meltdown, rising unemployment and threatened cuts in public spending, a group of MPs experience the reality of life for many people up and down the country.

    In this new four-part series the MPs leave Westminster and their comfortable homes to live for eight days and nights in tower blocks on different council estates in some of Britain's most deprived neighbourhoods. They will be living alongside and meeting a wide range of residents on the estates and coming face-to-face with issues that affect their lives: including gangs, immigration, drug addiction, poverty, crime, housing and unemployment.

    Liberal Democrat Mark Oaten experiences the dire housing conditions of Goresbrook Village in Barking and meets the residents disenchanted with mainstream politicians who have turned to the BNP. But he's upset when verbally attacked by local youths.

    Conservative Tim Loughton finds out first-hand what some residents really think of politicians on the gang-divided Newtown estate in Birmingham.

    Austin Mitchell and his wife Linda are shocked by poor living conditions and a drug problem on the Orchard Park estate in Hull.

    And former Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith learns a thing or two on the Carpenters estate in Stratford, East London.

    How do the MPs cope with such dramatically different living conditions? And will their experiences change their views on poverty, social exclusion, or how to find political solutions for the people and problems they meet?

  • Tower Block of Commons

    Episode 2

    The MPs try to live on benefits and get an insight into how low-income families cope. Tory Tim Loughton is taken aback sharing a one bedroom flat with a family of four (plus two dogs).

  • Tower Block of Commons

    Episode 3

    In west London Tory MP Nadine tries to create harmony between residents and worshippers at a local mosque, while Tory Tim Loughton has a late night meeting with a Birmingham street gang.

  • The MPs in front of the Houses of Parliament

    Episode 4

    In the last show of the series the MPs try to complete their challenges. And as they return to their comfortable lives, will they keep the promises they made to residents?

Tower Block of Commons synopsis

Politicians swap their comfortable homes and move into council estates across the country, encountering first-hand the reality of residents' lives

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