Channel 5’s Powerful Slum Britain: 50 Years On Stirs Viewers, Spurs Parliament

Last December, Viacom’s UK-based Channel 5 screened a 90-minute documentary, Slum Britain: 50 Years On, which cleverly compared the housing and homeless crisis of today with the situation 50 years ago. It was a powerful piece of television created through a rewarding partnership with housing charity Shelter using unique photographs of the slums commissioned by the organization from the 1960s.

Producers Marcel Mettelsiefen and Stephen Ellis (who incidentally were nominated for an Oscar for their film, Watani: My Homeland, on Syrian refugees in Germany) combined a strong human interest story with a powerful argument, making Slum Britain: 50 Years On essential viewing.

At 90 minutes, with black-and-white visuals and a seriously angry point of view about the conditions many of our fellow citizens endure in 2016 Britain, the project was a risk. The film rated better than we anticipated, with more than 1 million people tuning in for the whole film.

Slum Britain - Images sent to Shelter by Nick Hedges in January 2016 for the 50th anniversary. Nick Hedges was commissioned by Shelter to cover poor housing conditions and abject poverty in the UK between 1968 and 1972. According to a 1965 White Paper, 'three million families were living in slums, near slums or grossly overcrowded conditions' in the UK. The Hedges archive is part of the National Photography Collection at the National Media Museum in Bradford.

Slum Britain – Images sent to Shelter by Nick Hedges in January 2016 for the 50th anniversary. Nick Hedges was commissioned by Shelter to cover poor housing conditions and abject poverty in the UK between 1968 and 1972. According to a 1965 White Paper, ‘three million families were living in slums, near slums or grossly overcrowded conditions’ in the UK. The Hedges archive is part of the National Photography Collection at the National Media Museum in Bradford.

The reaction from viewers across social media was amazing – I don’t think we’ve ever seen such a powerful, immediate and supportive response.

And not just from viewers. In partnership with Shelter, we had previewed the film and held a discussion chaired by David Mackintosh MP (Member of Parliament), chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Ending Homelessness, who has an ongoing campaign to raise the issue of Britain’s housing crisis in the House of Commons.

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The Best-Dressed Pineapple Under the Sea: SpongeBob Goes Gold With Six International Designers

Top fashion bloggers, designers, celebs and SpongeBob himself were in attendance at the SpongeBob Gold fashion collection launch party at London Fashion Week on Saturday Feb. 18.

To kick off a year-long SpongeBob Gold international campaign, Nickelodeon and Viacom Consumer Products have collaborated with six international designers on an innovative fashion collection. Featuring designs from Peter Jensen, Bobby Abley, Salar, Maria Francesca Pepe, Suecomma Bonnie and Bad Denim, the SpongeBob Gold fashion collection includes clothing for men and women as well as footwear, accessories and jewelry. SpongeBob Gold will be available at retail exclusively outside of the U.S. beginning in May.

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 18: A general view at Nickelodeon's SpongeBob Gold 18th Anniversary at LFW in collaboration with the LFW Design collective: Bobby Abley, Pete Jenson, Salar Milano, Maria Francesca Pepe, Suecomma Bonnie & Bad Denim on February 18, 2017 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for Nickelodeon)

LONDON, ENGLAND – FEB. 18: A general view at Nickelodeon’s SpongeBob Gold 18th Anniversary at LFW in collaboration with the LFW Design collective on Feb. 18, 2017 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for Nickelodeon)

Designer Maria Francesca Pepe, who designed a range of charm-adorned SpongeBob jewelry, said of her involvement in the collection, “I’ve always felt the concept of pop defined the core of my creations. Developing an exclusive capsule collection of jewelry featuring the pop sensation SpongeBob felt such a match.”

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MTV EMAs Head to London

Stuart Winchester by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

via GIPHY

After a raucous party in Rotterdam last year, the MTV EMAs are heading across the North Sea to London for the first time in more than two decades.

“London is arguably the world’s musical epicenter and it’s both a huge privilege and opportunity to bring the MTV EMAs 2017 to the U.K.’s capital city,” said David Lynn, the newly installed CEO of Viacom International Media Networks, who is based in London. “The EMA creates an incredible buzz wherever it lands it; that will be amplified tenfold in London.”

The city last hosted the EMAs in 1996, before the event moved on to other UK venues, including Edinburgh (2003), Liverpool (2008), Belfast (2011) and Glasgow (2014). It looks as though the city is happy to have us back (or at least the mayor is):


Performers, nominees, host information and more is yet to come. For now, check out last year’s winners.

 

Snoozing for a Good Cause

Stuart Winchester by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

You might suspect that sleeping in once in a while could be good for you, but it turns out that it can be good for someone else as well.

Or at least that’s what happened when 317 Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN) employees in 18 countries joined MTV’s Staying Alive foundation in Hitting Snooze on World AIDS Day. VIMN’s London office spearheaded the initiative, asking employees to clear the delayed workday with their managers in advance. In exchange for an extra two hours of Zs, each employee agreed to donate to the foundation. The haul from all that rest? $10,346.59 to help stop HIV before it starts. Viacom’s Viacommunity initiative is matching the first $5,000 of those donations.

Want to help out? You can donate now – although it’s on you to clear any late arrivals to work with your boss!

 

 

London Turns Royal (Baby) Blue

Be Viacom Talk Shop TNN blog by Mandy Westhorpe, VIMN UK
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The Royal Family is rarely out the limelight, especially these past two years – from the Royal Wedding to the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, and of course, let’s not forget Her Majesty’s starring role in the 2012 London Olympics opening ceremony.  Little did they know that their crown would be stolen by the newest arrival in town! Read More

MTV UK Programming: Launch with a View

tessa by Tessa Tennyson, VIMN UK

MTV 14Getting the great British press to attend a programming launch in deepest darkest January is no mean feat. Like most of the country, they want nothing more than to be in front of a roaring fire, snug in a onesie and watching something good on the telly. So, to make the night a success, two essential pre-requisites are a kick-ass venue and really compelling content. Luckily, the recent MTV UK slate launch had both in spades. Read More

Admiral General Aladeen, Stars Hit the Red Carpet for ‘The Dictator’ Premiere in London

by Ashley Bodul, Paramount Pictures
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A booted Lamborghini didn’t deter His Excellency Admiral General Aladeen from attending the London premiere of his new movie “The Dictator” Thursday evening – the Wadiyan leader arrived at the Royal Festival Hall on the back of a tow truck.

“Sorry I am late.  I was doing some shopping at the British Home Stores and I got clamped,” he explained.  “I refuse to pay your parking rates.  Two pounds for seven minutes?  And they call me the international war criminal!” Read More