Episode 1/3: Working Class, Tuesday 5th June, 10pm, Channel 4
Grayson Perry has always been fascinated by taste - why people buy the things they do, wear the things they wear and what they are trying to say about themselves when they make those choices.
For the last year he's been travelling around Britain to the events and social rituals where people reveal the most about themselves. He's been visiting people's houses, inspecting their possessions, decor, and cars. Grayson Perry, one of Britain's leading artists, and winner of the Turner Prize, explores the details of modern life, and the truths those details tell us about ourselves through his art.And that's why he's decided to tackle the subject of taste for Channel 4.
In this three-part series, he goes on safari through the taste tribes of Britain, not just to observe our taste, but to tell us in an artwork what it means. The work he'll be creating is a series of six imposing tapestries called ‘The Vanity of Small Differences' - his personal but panoramic take on the taste of 21st century Britain.
In each episode, he'll embed himself with people from across our social spectrum - the working classes of Sunderland, the middle classes of Tunbridge Wells and the upper classes of the Cotswolds - in a bid to get to grips with our differing takes on taste. He will shop, eat, drink and socialise with his hosts, learning about and taking part in the revealing rituals of the Great British public.
Grayson Perry begins his journey in Sunderland, a city with strong working-class traditions and a proud heritage of shipbuilding and coal mining. Originally from a working-class background himself, Perry is interested in how our own family background - and the class journey we take shapes the way we define ourselves through what we wear, buy and how we live.
Perry goes to the places in Sunderland where the taste of the town is most on show:with the men of the city, he talks custom cars at the Hot Car Meet, body art at tattoo parlours and gyms, and football at the annual local derby with Newcastle United. And with the women, he puts his transvestism to good use, by dressing up for a big girls' night out on the town.
Perry discovers a culture of flamboyant display in Sunderland, as well as some surprising "ancestral echoes" of his own upbringing. He also confronts head-on the snobbery that surrounds many people's view of working-class taste.
But it's at a local working men's club, Heppies, that Perry experiences the epiphany that inspires his tapestries about taste in Britain, planting the seed of the big themes of class, taste and social mobility that will inform the work.
Finally, Perry invites all the people he meets in Sunderland down to London for an unveiling of his finished tapestry series, prompting a fascinating debate about what Perry has chosen to reflect back to them about their taste.
Director: Neil Crombie
Executive Producer: Dinah Lord
Production Company: Seneca Productions
Commissioning Editor: Tabitha Jackson