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BBC Three announces factual drama, Life And Death In The Warehouse



It tells the fictional story of warehouse worker Alys, whose childhood friend Megan joins the same distribution centre as a trainee manager. In a desperate attempt to keep her new job Megan presses pregnant Alys to get her ‘pick-rate’ up, putting Alys and her baby at risk.

From the Bafta-winning team behind Killed By My Debt and Murdered by My Father, Life And Death In The Warehouse is an authentic exploration of working conditions in distribution centres, a world shrouded in secrecy where warehouse workers are subjected to a gruelling work regime and obsessive monitoring.

A boom in online shopping has led to an explosion of warehouse jobs, with around a million people working in distribution centres across the UK. In many towns, warehouse work is now one of the few options available to young people.

In the ‘customer-fixated’ culture of distribution centres, ‘idle time’ (toilet breaks and conversations) and ‘pick’ or ‘aspirational’ rates (number of items picked per hour) are constantly measured with 24-hour surveillance, which can lead to disciplinary hearings and ruthless ‘off-boarding’ (sacking.) Pregnant women routinely fall below their target ‘pick-rate’ and are subjected to constant CCTV and algorithmic surveillance, ‘self enhancement plans’ and monitoring.

Written by new screenwriter Helen Black, the drama brings together an exciting cast of fictional characters which include Aimee-Ffion Edwards as Megan (Peaky Blinders, The Left Behind, Luther), Poppy Lee Friar as Alys (In My Skin, Ackley Bridge, My Name Is Leon) and Craig Parkinson as Senior Manager Danny (Line Of Duty, Doctor Who, Four Lions). Additional cast include Kimberley Nixon as manager Donna, Aled ap Steffan as warehouse worker Devon, and Sion Daniel Young as manager Sean.

Fiona Campbell, Controller BBC Three, says: “This factual-based drama will no doubt raise some questions. We know that this is what the best factual programmes do – they help people understand the world they are living in and drive conversation about stories relevant right now.”

Aysha Rafaele, Executive Producer: “We may not think about this, but every time we click for a next day delivery there’s a person at the other end, working in a warehouse to fulfil that need.

“Our latest BBC Three drama shines a light on this terrifying new reality where workers can be constantly surveilled, bullied to keep their pick rates up,  every moment of idle time calculated to the second. I hope this film will help raise awareness of the taxing demands many young people are facing in their workplace today.”

Shot in Wales, Life And Death In The Warehouse is directed and created by multi-award-winning Joseph Bullman (Killed By My Debt, The Left Behind) and produced by BBC Studios Drama Productions.

Life And Death In The Warehouse is a 1×60’ factual drama made by BBC Studios Production. It was commissioned by Fiona Campbell, Controller, BBC Three; Clare Sillery, Head of Commissioning, Documentaries, History and Religion for BBC Three and BBC iPlayer; and by Nick Andrews, Head of Content Commissioning for BBC Wales.

The director is Joseph Bullman, the writer is Helen Black and the producer is Tracie Simpson. The executive producer is Aysha Rafaele. The commissioning editors are Emma Loach for BBC Factual and Julian Carey for BBC Wales.

Pictured above: Megan Roberts (Aimee-Ffion Edwards), Alys Morgan (Poppy Lee Friar). Image Credit: Simon Ridgway