Channel 4 today announced the commission of a trio of shows airing in September that sheds light on three British businesses doing well despite the recession or are flourishing on the back of tough times.
The Pawn Shop (w/t) from Boomerang is a 1 x 60 documentary uncovering the hidden world of high-end pawnbroking, with exclusive access to the experts and extraordinary clients involved in this growing industry. Focusing on Surrey-based Prestige Pawnbrokers, the undisputed kings at pawning expensive and exclusive objects in cash-strapped Britain, we’ll go behind-the-scenes and discover that when it comes to upmarket pawn everyone has a story to tell.
From a £1million helicopter, a £150k Ferrari or a Hermes handbag worth £25k, they are at the forefront when it comes to pawning luxurious and costly objects in cash-strapped Britain and part of a growing number of high-end pawnbrokers. Run by slick, former property developer, James Constantinou with the aid of a quirky team of asset experts including salt-of-the-earth jewellery expert Lawrence, feisty PA Jo and art expert Ben among others, Prestige has become the go-to place for people wanting fast cash in well-heeled Surrey. And it’s an empire on the move: James is taking big risks investing his hard earned cash in a brand new store in Richmond and has bigger plans in mind too. But will expanding make or break the business?
The Man Who Will Buy Anything (w/t) produced by Firecracker Films is a 1 x 60 observational documentary following ‘real-life Del Boy’ Steve Elwis – one of the most prolific traders in Britain specialising in buying up excess stock of all varieties and selling it on for a big profit. A former second-hand car salesman, Steve jacked this in to run his company Virrgo. And if you’ve ever wondered where market traders and Poundland get their products from, Steve’s your answer.
From corner shops that have gone bust and family-run businesses that have gone under, to large high street stores in administration and manufacturers who’ve run out of trade, every day of the year Steve and his team are out on the road, doing deals with people who are desperately trying to scrape back money from their bankrupt stock. With unprecedented access to Virrgo, the show explores the hidden world of the people who are making money from other people’s misfortune and use this unique business as a way of offering a new perspective of Britain during the economic downturn.
We’ll also learn about the daily risks that Steve and his team face when making deals. With every transaction has to come profit and Steve has to be sure that whatever he buys he can sell, but that’s not always the case. We’ll see how Steve manages to walk the thin line between profit and loss at a time of change for his business, from office moves to new recruitment.
Scrappers (w/t) also from Firecracker Films is a 2 x 60 character-led documentary following the day-to-day life of a scrap yard in south-east London. The show follows the people who work at the yard as well as those who use it to sell their scrap. Giving an insightful and often humorous glimpse into a little known community of scrap entrepreneurs, the show uncovers the ups and downs of the scrap metal trade, responding to the issues facing the industry, and giving no-holds-barred access to the buyers and sellers who inhabit this world where wrecked or decommissioned vehicles are brought, their usable parts are sold for use in operating vehicles, while the unusable metal parts, known as scrap metal parts, are sold to metal-recycling companies.
Full of incident and humour, and larger than life personalities, Scrappers brings a whole new meaning to the concept of workplace banter and reveals the relationships within this extraordinary group of people, who through hard graft and an ability to take advantage of any opportunity within the world of scrap metal, survive by ducking and diving, and are prospering in hard times.