In 2011, local government officials in Essex attempted the biggest ever eviction of gypsies and Travellers in British history. They were met with fierce resistance. And the battle that followed became one of the biggest news stories in the world.
Nearly a decade after the event, commissioned by Channel 5, this feature-length documentary from firecracker films tells the story of the extraordinary events surrounding the dale farm eviction.
The story itself spans over 10 years. Irish Travellers legally owned the land of dale farm near Basildon, but developed it without planning permission. Early attempts by the council to move them on were thwarted by the new Labour government, and the adoption of the human rights laws resulted in a stalemate between the resident Travellers and the council. By the time the high court eventually granted permission for the eviction to proceed, nearly 90 families were settled on the site and ready to defend their homes. When judgement day finally came, all hell broke loose; the site clearance was nothing short of a turf war and resulted in harrowing scenes of violence that shocked the world.
To piece together this documentary, firecracker trawled through thousands of hours of archive material and secured unprecedented interview access to some of the most integral people on both sides of the barricades. The result is an eye-opening and unflinching view of the astonishing developments of the biggest gypsy eviction ever to take place on British soil.
Federico Ruiz, head of factual entertainment, firecracker films, said, “the dale farm eviction was one of the most shocking and brutal events in recent British history. Doing it justice and putting it in proper historical context was our top priority in this feature doc; but the more you dig into the story, the more disturbing it becomes”.
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About Firecracker Films
From the Broadcast Digital Awards winning smash hit Emma Willis: Delivering Babies (W Channel’s highest rated series of 2018), to the critically acclaimed shows Mums Make Porn (Channel 4) and The Sex Clinic (E4) Firecracker Films has established itself as producer of some of the most groundbreaking, popular factual programmes on television today.
Other credits include the BAFTA-nominated international smash Big Fat Gypsy Weddings and recent ratings success The Town The Gypsies Took Over (Channel 5), the critically acclaimed Class Of Mum And Dad for Channel 4, and Jamie: Drag Queen At Sixteen – the BBC Three documentary which inspired the hit West End musical and up-coming big screen adaptation Everybody’s Talking About Jamie.
Other highlights from Firecracker include Stacey Dooley Sleeps Over (W), The Customer Is Always Right (BBC Daytime), Emily Atack: Adulting (W) and How The Other Kids Live (Channel 4)