UK

Mother sues Channel 5 for £100,000 in privacy row over ‘Can’t Pay? We’ll Take it Away’

A mother who was filmed being evicted as part of the hit show ‘Can’t Pay? We’ll Take it Away’ has launched a High Court privacy battle against Channel 5.

The woman is suing the broadcaster for up to £100,000 over the tactics and techniques used in filming the popular fly-on-the-wall programme – which follows bailiffs as they visit defaulters. 

The claimant featured in an episode which showed her and her 15-month old baby daughter being evicted from their flat in Hammersmith.

She claims that private information about her was misused by the filming of her both openly and surreptitiously.

The woman is seeking compensation from Channel 5 Broadcasting Ltd in respect of the filming of the show, which was screened on October 28, 2015, as episode five of season three.

She is also seeking a court order banning further broadcasting of the episode.

A mother who was filmed being evicted as part of the hit show ‘Can’t Pay? We’ll Take it Away’ (pictured: Stars of the Season 5 show) has launched a High Court privacy battle against Channel 5

The woman is seeking compensation from Channel 5 Broadcasting Ltd (pictured: The Channel 5 Head Office) in respect of the filming of the show, which was screened on October 28, 2015 as episode five of season three

The woman is seeking compensation from Channel 5 Broadcasting Ltd (pictured: The Channel 5 Head Office) in respect of the filming of the show, which was screened on October 28, 2015 as episode five of season three

The details of her claim have been signed by a top QC who specialises in cases involving breach of confidence and privacy.

The court papers say that the woman knew she was due for eviction after running up debts of £11,000.

However, she had not expected eviction on the day it happened.

And when it happened on May 2015, the papers say two High Court Enforcement Agents working for debt collectors, DCBL, accompanied by a three-man film crew working for Brinkworth Films Ltd, turned up at her door.

One of them is said to have become a ‘minor celebrity’ as a result of previous appearances in the series and, as part of the claim against Channel 5, is accused of having abused his role on film in order to create good television by stirring up conflict between parties involved.

Brinkworth are said to have supplied high quality bodycams and dashcams to be used by the enforcement agents.

The only defendants named in the claim are Channel 5 Broadcasting Ltd. 

The woman says that on the day in question she had suffered a bad night’s sleep after being woken several times by her daughter.

She says that the appearance at her door of five strangers pointing a large microphone and camera at her while she was given just an hour to get out of her flat left her stressed.

She says she made it clear she did not want to be filmed and argues that she had a reasonable expectation of privacy in her home.

The woman also claims she had an expectation that the eviction would not turn into a spectacle to which uninterested third parties would be invited into her home to observe.

She said she had not realised that the enforcement agents were also filming for the programme.

One of them, she says, tried to create ‘good television’ by berating her while she was holding her baby daughter, criticising her for not paying her rent and implying that she was a liar.

But she says she was powerless to stop the agents filming her and that their actions and those of the film crew amounted to misuse of her private information.

The High Court (pictured: The Royal Courts of Justice - home to the High Court) papers say that everything filmed at her flat, and in the street as she left, was private

The High Court (pictured: The Royal Courts of Justice – home to the High Court) papers say that everything filmed at her flat, and in the street as she left, was private

The court papers say that everything filmed at her flat, and in the street as she left, was private.

This includes, she claims, the filming of her baby daughter’s toys which were filmed along with her humiliating departure.

She says that enforcement agents should act sensitively and in a way which respects the privacy of people involved, and that she should have been protected by the Ofcom Broadcasting Code which meant she should not have been surreptitiously filmed.

She says she has suffered an extremely serious abuse of her private information, as well as continuing upset, and is also seeking aggravated damages.

MailOnline has contacted Channel 5, Brinkworth Films Ltd and DCBL for comment.

A spokesperson for Channel 5 said: ‘We are aware that a claim has been issued and are in the process of drafting our defence.’ 


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