One off documentary The Cult Next Door by acclaimed director Vanessa Engle tells the extraordinary story of a strange cult, which came to light in 2013, when a sensational news story broke about three women emerging from a small flat in Brixton in South London after decades in captivity.
Tracing the group back to its roots in the 1970s, the film describes how its leader, Aravindan Balakrishnan, a student of Indian origin, believed in an international communist revolution and created a tiny political sect that followed the teachings of China’s Chairman Mao.
The film features exclusive interviews with two of the women who escaped: Aisha Wahab, a 72 year-old Malaysian woman who was part of Balakrishnan’s group for 40 years, and Katy Morgan-Davies, Balakrishnan’s daughter, who was born and raised in captivity.
The film documents how this left-wing collective evolved into a bizarre pseudo-religious cult, where members were controlled, threatened and brainwashed, so that they were too terrified to leave.
The Cult Next Door airs on Thursday 26 January 2017 from 9.00pm-10.00pm on BBC Two