Lowestoft set to be key focus of new television documentary

The BBC filming at Harrod UK in Lowestoft. John Humphrys pictured with staff. Picture: SUPPLIED

The BBC filming at Harrod UK in Lowestoft. John Humphrys pictured with staff. Picture: SUPPLIED - Credit: Archant

People living and working in Lowestoft are set to feature in a new television documentary next month.

A new four-part BBC documentary is set to be broadcast in forthcoming weeks – with one of the programmes focusing on Lowestoft.

With filming having taken place across the town, recently the producer of the programme, Owen Phillips, and presenter John Humphrys visited the docks and fish market to interview BFP Eastern, who operate the town's fish market, and local fishermen.

Other local businesses were also interviewed, including AKD Engineering and local fish merchants, before staff and teachers at Ormiston Denes Academy and Pakefield High School featured – as the issue of how raising expectations and aspirations can change lives was looked at.

The Lowestoft Movie Makers club were also enlisted to help in the making of the programme.

Continuing the fishing industry theme, Harrod UK expressed its pride at being selected to be part of the programme. The company was founded in 1954 by Ron Harrod and started by producing horticultural netting made from old fishing nets. It then moved into manufacturing sports netting and equipment throughout the UK – and the business has gone from strength to strength since then.

The company later went full circle by using its existing skills, materials and technology to develop Harrod Horticultural – producing and supplying horticultural netting, garden structures and products. Now, the company is the leading manufacturer in sports equipment and is one of the largest mail order gardening companies around the UK.

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Stephanie Harrod, managing director of Harrod UK, which is based on the south Lowestoft industrial estate, was interviewed by Mr Humphrys before the manufacturing processes were filmed and employees were spoken to.

She said: 'It's an honour to be asked to take part in such an exciting case study, representing employers in the Lowestoft area. I'm sure it will help to raise the profile of the town, companies and the people that live and work here. Everyone at Harrod UK feels proud to work for a dynamic, forward thinking company that has plenty of hope for the future.'

Producer Owen Phillips said: 'We had a great time filming in Lowestoft and were in the town for five days. This will form part of a series of films, which will be broadcast on BBC One, looking at issues that matter for everyone. In Lowestoft, we were looking at how the town has changed, with the fishing heritage, and the film is called Something to Hope For.'

It is set to be broadcast on March 23.


The four-part series is called State of the Nation and is set to cover major themes in the lead up to the general election.

The documentary will relate to the former Prime Minister for New Zealand, Norman Kirk, whose theory was that you need four things in life to be happy – love, work, a place to live, and hope.

With a strong focus on education and its power to change lives, the Lowestoft programme, entitled Something to Hope For, involves Ormiston Denes Academy and Pakefield High School.

Mr Phillips said: 'The films are based in different parts of the country, centring around love, work, housing and hope.

'Hope is the final film in the four-part series, and for this particular film we have been looking hope in Lowestoft.

By using Lowestoft for the 'hope' aspect of the programme, a number of businesses were interviewed along with students, teachers, fishermen and those involved in the fishing industry. The Lowestoft Movie Makers club, which meets in the studio theatre at Sparrow's Nest Gardens, also expressed their delight after being enlisted to help in the making of the programme, with their base used to conduct interviews and discussions.

And Harrod UK said they were thrilled to showcase their offices and warehouse for the new four part BBC documentary, which will be hosted by

John Humphrys. A company spokesman added: 'Harrod UK believes that there is hope for the future in Lowestoft.'

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