Channel 4 commissions HMP (wt), a four-part constructed documentary series that will put a group of well-known names through Britain’s prison system

26 June, 2023

Eastenders actor Sid Owen, comedian and actor Tom Rosenthal, Gogglebox star Marcus Luther, singer Hrvy, Mail on Sunday columnist Peter Hitchens and former MP Neil Parish are participating in a four-part constructed documentary series where they will be locked up for eight days, in decommissioned HMP Shrewsbury, to investigate what life is really like behind bars.

The six well-known inmates will be incarcerated with a variety of real ex-criminals, including those who have served long sentences for serious crimes – although all are now reformed and have agreed to re-enter prison for this series. The well-known inmates will have the opportunity to interrogate their cellmates on their prison experiences and former crimes – as well as examine the impact of the system on them – for better or worse.

Run by a former prison governor, with 20 years’ experience in some of the UK’s toughest prisons, and former prison officers, the inmates will live by current UK prison rules.

HMP (wt) was commissioned by Channel Head of Documentaries Alisa Pomeroy with Documentaries Senior Commissioning Editor Madonna Benjamin and Commissioning Editor Rita Daniels. The series will be produced by Shine with executive producers Tim Whitwell and Tom Clarke and series producer Emma Young.

Alisa Pomeroy said: “This is the sort of television that Shine makes so brilliantly for C4, in the vein of precursors The Island and Hunted. Once again, they’ve constructed an immersive documentary precinct where real stories play out. We’ve always wanted to rig a prison with cameras at C4, and this series comes as close as possible, allowing us to explore some of the big questions about the UK prison system and whether it works.”

Tim Whitwell said: “For the first time, we have rigged a prison to find out what really happens in the cells after bang up. This series aims to enthral and entertain, whilst kickstarting a national debate about crime and punishment.”