How the Other Half Live, Channel 4

by | Aug 2, 2009 | All, Reviews

How the other half live, made by the same minds behind the hugely successful and often thought provoking Secret Millionaire is already an award winner after only one episode. it’s the winner of the most bizarre premise on TV for a while! Congratulations! That’s quite the achievement.

How the other half live sees a wealthy family sponsor a poorer family within England. Handy out checks like they were sweets in a big bag of Pick N Mix. In fact if we’re going with that analogy then they’re giving out just the cheques are the flumps in the big bag of Pick N Mix. Yes I’m happy with that.

What was perhaps supposed to be moving and heartwarming ended up feeling very uncomfortable and so sugary sweet I was in danger of loosing a tooth (that’s still assuming the programme was like a bag of sweets keep up!) The majority of the programme saw the two families writing pen pal type letters which they very kindly read aloud presumably for any of Channel 4’s viewers who may’ve been slow readers.

The premise was original in a way but it was basically the Secret Millionaire minus all the mystery. At the end I was tempted to book an appointment with my doctor, the mountains of “moving” music and the tears shed by each families was obviously supposed to move the audience but I just remained stony faced and unaffected by the “please pass the tissues” moments.

Perhaps with the world in such financial turmoil watching a family with a tennis court donating to a family with no beds didn’t really have the impact it should’ve. Alternatively maybe this old fart should put his slippers on and go sit by the fire and have a long suck on a Werther’s Original

This was a documentary that could’ve been more interesting and more thought provoking if it didn’t focus so much on the participants abilities to write nice letters and keep shoving the each family’s bank account details down our throats after each return of the adverts.

With two episodes left it is intriguing to see what kinds of families will be chosen but judging the series by the opener this series is nowhere near The Secret Millionaire in terms of interest or impact.

Luke Knowles

Luke Knowles


Editor of the website and host of the podcast. A general TV obsessive. I've been running the site since 2008 and you can usually find me in front of the TV. My Favourite show of all time is Breaking Bad with Cracker coming a close second. I feel so passionately that television can change the world and I'm doing my little bit by running this site. You're Welcome!


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