Hackney is set to become the backdrop of a new Channel 4 comedy series about a group of property guardians who live in a disused hospital, the Hackney Post has learnt.
Crashing, written by and starring Broadchurch actor Phoebe Waller-Bridge, is currently being filmed in and around Hackney Downs and will air in February 2016. It follows the channel’s Hackney-based gang drama Top Boy.
Ms Waller-Bridge, 30, said in a statement: “It’s an absolute dream to be writing for such a sexy, funny, groundbreaking channel. I’m over the moon that they’ve let this naughty little gang of characters into the fold.”
Hackney locals, however, expressed suspicion towards the programme. Gordeen, 63, who moved to the borough in 1986, said: “When programmes like that are made, the subjects always seem like a bunch of nutters and misfits, rather than genuine people who are in a situation.”
Some kind of filming going on by Hackney Downs today pic.twitter.com/jlCO0ylUKN
— Ruth-Anna (@bikesandbabies) September 22, 2015
A property guardian currently living in the area’s former Downsview School, who preferred to remain anonymous, added: “I’d rather people depicted our situation more seriously. It’s not romantic. I’m not here out of choice.”
However, Hackney Downs councillor Rick Muir sees value in exploring the issue. He said: “This programme seems to be very timely – highlighting the fact that so many people in their 20s and 30s simply cannot afford the sky high rents in much of London. This housing crisis has hit people in Hackney hard in particular.”
Data from the Valuation Office Agency shows that the average monthly rent for a three-bed property in Hackney is £2,041, requiring around £56,000 of household income – far more than the borough’s average of £31,304.
Bob de Vilder, a spokesman for property guardian company Camelot Europe, said: “It’s interesting to learn that property guardians are now mainstream in English society, even to the level that a TV show is created about the idea.”