Nick and Margaret: We Pay Your Benefits
Thu Jul 18, 9-10pm, BBC1
Thu Jul 11 2013
Time Out Ratings<strong>Rating: </strong>3/5
Things get a touch more ‘Wife Swap’-esque in the concluding half of this two-parter, as the layabouts – some of whom haven’t experienced employment for 20 years – join the grinders to experience a day’s work. For some, it’s about rediscovering self-worth and dignity. For others, it’s a lesson that shifting boxes around a warehouse is a lot harder than sitting at home watching ‘Countdown’ while Iain Duncan Smith tops up your bank account.
There are plenty of uncomfortable moments: take your pick between Nick Hewer hovering over single mother Kelly as she scrubs a public loo (‘lots of toilets to clean, that’s a hard old task’), and the moment an old lady with MS is told work-shy graduate Liam won’t be dropping in to look after her because he has a 2.1 in media studies and can’t be bothered.
The participants themselves shed little light on the core issue of work and welfare, meaning Nick and Margaret’s back-of-a-cab thrash-outs are the most enjoyable bits of the whole hour. So much so, that we’d have much preferred a show in which the pair lock a couple of Westminster bigwigs in a room to get the whole thing sorted out once and for all. Preferably while Alan Sugar serves them tea and scones.
Subscribe to Time Out London on Spotify for daily playlists and recommendations from our Music team.