In the same week that Donald Trump became leader of the free world, Ed Balls’ salsa to Gangnam Style took the country by storm. As entertainment heavyweight Trump, was moving into politics, Ed was making the same journey in reverse.
In this surprising and entertaining new series for BBC Two, have-a-go hero Ed travels to the heart of Trumpland, America’s Deep South, to immerse himself in the lives of those who put Trump in power, and learn how this reality TV businessman won them over.
Ed will walk a mile in the shoes of those he meets - whether it’s Confederate flag-flying rednecks, Trump’s newly empowered immigration officers, victims of the Parkland school shooting, or the President’s inner circle of millionaire friends - to find out if they think Trump is delivering on his promises to fix America, despite the chaos and controversies of his administration so far.
A long way from home and his own politics, Ed is determined to find out how Trump tapped into the US psyche and what his popularity tells us about today’s American values.
Episode 1: Making America Proud Again?
Trump promised to make Americans proud again, so Ed joins the 15,000 working-class Americans heading to Saint-Jo, Texas with their monster trucks and Confederate flags for the wild Rednecks With Paychecks festival; the ultimate celebration of Southern Pride.
Determined to find out how billionaire Trump’s no-nonsense attitude resonated with the values of these hard-working Americans, Ed helps festival organiser Derrick and finds a surprising Trumpster in Mexican Mardha, who crossed the boarder illegally 20 years ago.
Wall-supporting Mardha describes herself as a proud American but since Trump became President, he’s given new powers to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency and hugely increased the number of Hispanic illegal immigrants being deported.
Ed joins ICE officers for the early morning arrest of an illegal Mexican immigrant in Atlanta, Georgia and asks if Trump’s focus on ridding the US of “Bad Hombres” risks creating divisions in the “land of opportunity”.
Like ICE, America’s serving military and veterans have also benefitted from Trump’s administration, so Ed heads to AHERO Veteran Farm Shorter, Alabama to find out if the extra support is restoring pride in America’s armed forces or if it’s just another sign of divisive politics.
Still raw from losing his own political seat, Ed wants to know how despite the scandals, Trump’s macho style won over the American masses. Channelling The Donald, whose political style has been likened to own his foray into the ring, Ed trains with former WWE star Johnny Slaughter of Southern Legacy Wrestling, Alabama, and revives an old political moniker to become the British Bruiser, only this time he’s wearing a leotard.
Filmed over a year with behind the scenes access to the CPS and West Mercia police, this film follows Senior Crown Prosecutor Eran Cutliffe as she works to build an extraordinarily complex case against a network of people both inside and outside prisons using drone technology to exploit a captive market.
Drugs are big business in prisons. On the inside they can can fetch 4 times their street value and serving time can become a business opportunity for the king pin convicts who rule their prison wings. Although prisoners don’t have access to funds themselves, family members can pay off the debts their drug-addicted loved ones are racking up on the inside. But to prosecute the offenders, police need evidence of who’s involved on the inside and who’s flying the packages in.
This film follows the investigation and prosecution of an astonishingly prolific criminal gang using drones to deliver drugs direct to cell windows at prisons across the UK. Police uncover evidence revealing the precision and frequency of drugs deliveries made by this audacious gang. CCTV footage outside and inside prison helps the Prosecution team to piece together who is involved and establish the role of each person within the conspiracy. How the gang is getting paid for the drugs is a conundrum for Eran and the team but “following the money” eventually yields dividends. With insights behind the scenes at court, we see how deals are made and the tensions between gang members charged together in a conspiracy.
The Prosecutors is a co-production between Gold Star Productions and The Open University.
Episode 6 - Monday 30th July
Shadow the chameleon isn’t behaving normally, and his owner Barry is extremely worried. Usually an active reptile, Shadow has started to hang upside down all the time, and the medication doesn’t seem to be working.
It’s tense in the operating theatre when Red the degu’s routine dental appointment takes a worrying turn. He’s in to have his teeth burred but is struggling with the anaesthetic.
And Saxon the goat has trouble with his hooves, leading to very smelly feet. His owner has been giving him regular pedicures to keep the hooves trim, but it might be doing more harm than good.
Episode 7 - Tuesday 31st July
Reptile owner Dominic brings his three snakes to the clinic after noticing one of the pythons has mites. The parasites can spread like wild fire and he’s worried his other snakes might have become infested.
There’s an emergency at the clinic when Dougie the chocolate Labrador is rushed in by his owner after being bitten by another dog. Dougie has a nasty wound and needs to be taken straight in to surgery.
Monty the parrot suffers from arthritis and it’s got so bad, he’s started self-harming. Increasing his medication carries risks, leaving his owner Mel with difficult decisions to make.
Episode 8 - Wednesday 1st July
Bantum the guinea pig is brought in for high risk surgery to remove a growth as big as his head. The massive growth on Bantum’s neck has mushroomed in a matter of days and unless it’s removed he won’t survive. But there’s a high risk he won’t even make it through the operation.
George the tortoise is 104 years old has been in the same family for 3 generations but when he’s come out of hibernation this year, his owner has noticed a problem with his eye. Having lost an eye already, his owner is worried George may end up blind, which would be life changing for George.
And Bob the bearded dragon has been a regular visitor to the clinic due to repeated leg injuries that just won’t heal. The vets need to investigate what could be causing the problem and are suspicious that he may have gout.
Episode 9 - Thursday 2nd July
Dio the rhino iguana has a ten centimetre stone stuck in her bladder and if she doesn’t have surgery to remove it she will die. It’s the first time the vets have had to anaesthesitise this kind of creature, but rhino iguanas can be aggressive and at 6 kilograms, Dio is going to be hard to handle.
Tommy the tortoise has woken up from his winter hibernation with a shocking injury - part of his leg has been eaten away by a rat. It’s a very serious injury and the vets fear they’re going to have to amputate Tommy’s leg.
And Casper the guinea pig is a rescue animal with an unusual genetic syndrome. It’s left him blind and deaf, but his real problem are his teeth which are growing at an extreme rate and causing all kinds of dental drama.
Episode 10- Friday 3rd July
A three-and-a-half-foot python comes into the clinic for an emergency appointment after suffering serious burns to his body. Reedus the snake has full thickness skin burns and his owner is worried he’ll need surgery.
Buddy is a treasured chameleon to owners Kayleigh and Aaron, but their unusual pet is off colour. He’s got kidney problems and an unusual growth has developed on his face. For his owners, the vets at Montgomery’s are their only hope to get Buddy back on form.
And time’s running out for Phin the guinea pig, who needs blood tests to find out what’s causing the swelling in his belly. Phin’s owner Harry is very anxious about what the tests will reveal and what the future holds for his beloved guinea pig.
The inventors take on three emotionally charged problems and attempt to create solutions that will change lives.
Four year old William has a rare form of epilepsy which causes him to have multiple seizures, some of which are life-threatening. These seizures can happen at any time and are particularly frequent at night. With doctors unable to control them through medication, and no seizure alarms suitable for him, his parents have to take it in turns to watch him around the clock. Lack of sleep and constant worry over the last four years has left them both desperate for help. Designer and technologist, Haiyan Zhang, bravely agrees to take on one of the most emotionally charged problems of the series. Can she come up with an invention that will help William’s parents to monitor him and ease the pressure they’re under?
19-year-old Ian was born with cerebral palsy which has left him with no control of his body and an inability to speak. Since he was a child one of his greatest pleasures has been sailing – an activity he used to enjoy with his dad before he was killed in a car accident three years ago. Now Ian goes out on the water with a friend who has fashioned a rudimentary system, using a rear view mirror and some basic signs, so that Ian can signal directions to him using his eyes. This allow him to have some involvement in navigating the boat, but what he really wants is to have complete control of the vessel. Engineer, Ryan White, and Experience Designer, Ruby Steele, team up to see if they can come up with a solution. If they’re successful it’ll be the first time anyone has ever sailed a boat using just their eyes. They’re hopeful that their idea to use the eye gaze technology that Ian already uses to operate his computer will work if they hook it up to motors on the boat. But when they try the technology outdoors they discover that the glare of sunlight renders it useless. It’s back to the drawing board, but neither of them are willing to give up.
66-year-old Susan has multiple sclerosis and has lives alone. She was diagnosed with the disease when she was 40 years-old and, as the symptoms have worsened over the years, she has worked hard to maintain her independence. Carers visit her twice a day to help her get in and out of bed and perform basic tasks, and her daughters visit regularly, but for much of the day she is on her own. Her flat has been kitted out with a range of assistive technology, but most of it is not fit for purpose. She has a tablet computer which she struggles to operate due to tremors in her hands, and a computerised system to operate the telephone and various electrical items, which are difficult to navigate and hard to read as her eyesight is failing. Ruby’s initial thought is to use the latest smart technology so that Susan can operate systems using her voice. But like many older people, she’s not familiar with this latest technology and knowing how to navigate it and what commands to use is incredibly confusing. Ruby needs to find a way to make smart technology more accessible for people like Susan. If she can crack it, she could help her to remain living in her own home, and potentially help thousands of other elderly and vulnerable people to avoid loneliness and continue living independently.
Eamonn & Ruth: The Millionaires Rulebook
What is it that makes the world’s most successful, wealthy people tick? Eamonn & Ruth meet the who’s who of Britain’s rich list to find out what drives them, how they made their fortunes, and how they enjoy their wealth.
Jacqueline Gold, the extraordinary force behind Ann Summers welcomes them into her luxury home and Ruth learns the ins and outs of hosting the perfect Ann Summers party. They also meet Sir Jack Petchey, the millionaire philanthropist as well as the next generation of millionaires that have been inspired by his generosity; and travel to the Isle of Man, where billionaire investment guru Doug Barrowman shows them around his £30 million house, filled with millions of pounds worth of fine art.
Eamonn and Ruth also get some advice from the man who claims to be the highest paid life coach in the UK who takes them under his wing and teached them some of the key traits of the high earners.
With house prices soaring and the rental market over-heating, this series delves into the dark side of the UK's housing crisis, following victims and villains on both sides of the buy-to-the let battlefield. Eviction experts help frantic landlords as they attempt to wrestle back their properties from bad tenants who won’t pay and won’t leave; and housing teams up and down the country try to protect vulnerable tenants who are living in squalor, at the mercy of rogue landlords.
On this week’s Bad Tenants, Rogue Landlords…
Housing Officers are called out to an overcrowded property in Harrow, after receiving a tip off from an unlikely source. When they arrive they find ten people living in dire conditions. The house is hugely overcrowded and needs extensive emergancy works. They believe two large families may be living in there, despite it being initially rented out to just one man. Years of crowded conditions have had a seriously detrimental effect on the property.
Squatters in Tottenham invade an elderly woman’s home while she is away from the property for a while. They have completely ransacked the property and are refusing to leave. The police are called to the scene as the trespasser break back in after their initial eviction.
In Harrow, housing enforcement officers are shocked to find multiple illegal homes built on a site where there should only be one. When they go to inspect the site further, their concerns become stronger. The officers are confronted with eight extremely dangerous and compact dwellings. To make matters worse, the landlady contests to make them leave and stops them talking to any of the tenants. The housing officers are forced to put a prohibition order the properties.
And in Waltham Abbey a seemingly perfect tenant forges her way into a desperate landlord’s home. The landlord previously lived in and owned the flat with his ex-partner. With nowhere else to live, and no money coming in from the tenants unpaid rent, the landlord moves back in with his parents while he struggles to evict the unruly occupant.
Fergus is a rich kid from Chelsea who flaunts his wealth on social media for his thousands of followers. He’s spending a couple of days living with Anna and her family in Croydon, who are desperately struggling to make ends meet. Can he help with the running of Anna’s home away from his father’s support?
A trip to the shops, tasked with feeding Anna’s family for a week, reveals to self-proclaimed foodie Fergus the stresses and strains of managing the tiniest of budgets.
And there’s a real shock for Fergus when he’s subject to some hostility when Anna takes him to see the council estate she used to live on.