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Commissions

Greenlit: Gypsies on Benefits and Proud, Channel 5

Gypsies on Benefits and Proud – Documentary that examines the lives of Roma gypsies who’ve come to the UK from Romania after work restrictions were lifted in January.  The programme brings a fascinating insight into the lives of Roma gypsies, both established in the UK, and coming to Britain as first-time immigrants in 2014.

The show follows father-of-three Ion Lazar, 36, (pronounced Yon) and five fellow immigrants as they travel to the UK in January 2014, just days after work restrictions on Romanians were lifted.  He wants to make £40,000 from benefits to help him build a new house for his family, back in the rural Romanian gypsy village where he grew up.

Katarina Cisarova, 43, is a larger-than-life Slovakian Roma. She has eleven children and eleven grandchildren in and around an estate in Rotherham.  In the seven years, she’s been here, Katarina has worked a handful of days. She lives with her out-of-work husband Peter and their four youngest kids – all teenagers. Everything is paid for by benefits – they get £430 a week.  Her husband did have a long-term job, but he’s been unemployed for two years.  Most of their grown up children also rely on the welfare state.

Viorel Dinu is possibly one of the most remarkable gypsies who’s come to live in Britain. The 25 year old lost both legs in an accident when he was seven years old. Now, he gets around on a skateboard. In Romania, he had to beg to get by. In Nottingham, he’s enjoying a much better life, thanks to British benefits of £750 a month. Viorel is learning to read and write English, he wants to continue his career in movies, and he gets around on a skateboard.

Channel: Channel 5

Producer: Channel 5

TX: 11th April 2014

Source: Channel 5 press release

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