Generally bleak viewing but still an intriguing insight into a much maligned agency
STAR RATING:*****Unmissable****Very Good***Okay**You Could Go Out For A Meal Instead*Avoid At All Costs
The death of nine year old Victoria Climbe in 2000 sparked public outrage,as well as serious questions as to the competency of Britain's Social Services Network.This six part documentary follows some case workers at Bristol's Social Services Unit,as they investigate and deal with various cases in which children appear to have been abused,either through neglect or through physical or even sexual misconduct by parents or carers.
I say all the examples I've mentioned above,but one case that sticks in my mind is that of two parents who,it appeared,simply weren't capable of looking after their child and allowed their dinghy council flat to deteriorate,over a period of years,into a stinking heave of p*ss and s*it.Also,one of a 15 year old girl,verging on adulthood,who had been seen hanging around with an older man,and appeared to be getting heavily into the heroin/crack-cocaine scene and appeared to have begun prostituting herself.We see,through the course of the show,the hard,grainy reality of these cases and cases like it.This hits hardest,ironically enough,at the end of the show.The theme music playing over the end credits is not particularly well-conducted or composed,i.e. at the end of shows like Animal Hospital or Rail Cops,but what appears to be a series of drum beats that powerfully play as they show emotional or tense scenes that are coming up in next week's show.This is a good note of the show and one that works very well,although some of the most atrocious case stories and the hard realities that surrounds them are not without their chill factor either.
Of all the government agencies in the country at the moment,nine times out of ten you can always be guaranteed social services are the one that comes under fire the most.They are often rated as incompetent or dithering by a vast majority of the British public.If you were to believe all the people on display in this show,it would seem that this is not necessarily the case and that the main problem is simply how under-manned and under-staffed they are,although they always seem a little too institutionalized in their dealings and unable to relate on a personal level to any of the people they come into contact with.
Overall,this certainly isn't exactly fun viewing but it's still an engaging,interesting and worthwhile eye-opener into depravity and social poverty that is going on right under our very eyes.****
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