Film ID:
YFA 4337



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A hundred years on from a ground breaking investigation into unemployment, Richard Bilton turns detective and uncovers a moving story of one family's journey from grinding poverty in a York slum to undreamt of success as a Hollywood actor.

In 1910 philanthropist and chocolate tycoon Seebohm Rowntree wrote a radical book about unemployment, exposing for the first time the terrible conditions faced by Britain's jobless. The report featured the diaries of the Nevinson family who struggled on the brink of destitution. In the first of two programmes looking at unemployment over the century, Richard Bilton painstakingly hunts down the descendants of the Nevinsons and discovers their great grandson is actor Mark Addy - Friar Tuck in the recent Robin Hood movie and a star of The Full Monty. In many ways, the story of the Addy family is the story of all our working lives over the last century.

This programme uses dramatized scenes combined with interviews and archival research to illustrate the report released by Seebohm Rowntree. In the summer of 1910, families were asked to describe their daily lives including working and living conditions as well as diet. This report was used to determine the poverty level.

Interview - Richard Taylor, York City Archives

There is archive footage of Seebohm Rowntree, and the commentary speaks of his passion to improve the life of the common man.

Interview - Julia Unwin, Joseph Rowntree Foundation

Julia speaks of the report of the welfare state. On 7th June, 1910, 60 researchers were sent to every working class home in York in order to conduct interviews. The family on which the programme focuses are the Nevinsons. Rowntree was interested in the link between diet and health, and the typical diet of tea, bread, and margarine is described. The family was only getting about a third of the calories they needed for a healthy diet.

Richard Bilton goes onto try to track down the descendants of the Nevinsons to see if in fact the family's status had improved over a number of generations. To carry out this research, he speaks to the following people from the York Family History Society: Pam Elliott, David Poole, Hugh Murray. During their research, they've determined that pseudonyms were used for all the families who appear in Rowntree's report.

Bilton visits the old Rowntree offices, now the Pizza Hut off of Coppergate in York. Here, three young apprentices learned the chocolate trade and went onto make names for themselves: Cadbury, Fry, and Rowntree. Some of the Rowntree family history is discussed using a combination of photographs and archive film.

Interview - Bridget Morris, Archivist Bootham School

Bilton learns that one of the children from the Nevinson family attended the Blind School in York, and through census records, it is discovered that her name is Ivy Addy, unveiling the real family name from Rowntree's report.

Interview - Pete Connelly, York Archaeological Trust

At the dig at Hungate, Connelly explains that they are standing where the family house would have been in 1910.

Interview - Ian Addy,

Ian's grandfather is the head of the family on which the programme has focused and took place in Rowntree's report. His father was a young boy at the time. Addy is interviewed about his family history and his thoughts about some of the journal entries from the survey.

Interview - Alex Hutchinson, Nestle Archivist

Here the programme focuses on the history of the factory. Archive footage of the factory as well as many different adverts are shown. Rowntree cared greatly for the welfare of his workers, and the welfare state as we know it today came about as a result of his ideas.

At York Minster, Addy also explains, unlike the situation in which his father and grandfather found themselves, he had prospects for jobs and training available to him. Addy went to technical college and became a glazier working at the Minster.

Ian Addy's son, Mark Addy, is a famous Hollywood actor, and a montage of some of his memorable films is shown.

Interview - Mark Addy

Addy is interviewed and discusses how in only a few generations his family has been able to go from the slums of York to the glamour of Hollywood. Bilton then takes Addy to the gravesite of the family members from Rowntree's report, and later, the extended Addy family come to a reunion at the Hungate dig to pay tribute to their ancestors.

End Credits:
Presenter: Richard Bilton
Actors: Neil Armstrong, Amanda Hepburn, Charlotte Kitchling, Markos Von Linger, Skyla Dee Pearce, Jack Soulsby, Rachel Teate
Camera: Nik Porter, Steve Orgen, Steve Horrocks
Sound: Chris Gibbions, Nigel Chatters, Andy Boag, Steve Booth
Title Graphics: Lexi Elven
Online Editor: Boyd Nagle
Dubbing Mixer: Andrew Sears
Production Executive: Jane Taylor
Production Co-ordinator: Charlotte Davies
Film Researcher: Kate Redman
Production Manager: Libby Hand
Film Editor: Henry Wood
Assistant Producer: Barbara Arvanitidis, Mora McLagan
Executive Producer: Sam Bagnall
Producer and Director: Guy Smith
BBC 2010

Originally Broadcast 22 October, 2010