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BBC Three announce new factual drama, Life and Death in the Warehouse

The new one-off drama comes from the team behind Killed By My Debt and Murdered By My Father and stars Aimee-Ffion Edwards and Poppy Lee Friar.

Inspired by the real-world accounts of warehouse workers from many different companies in Britain and around the world, this factual-based drama tells the fictional story of warehouse worker Alys, whose childhood friend Megan joins the same distribution centre as a trainee manager.

In a desperate attempt to keep her new job Megan, Aimee-Ffion Edwards, presses pregnant Alys, played by Poppy Lee Friar, to get her ‘pick rate’ up putting Alys and her baby at risk.

Life and Death in the Warehouse, written by new screenwriter Helen Black, promises to be an authentic exploration of working conditions in distribution centres, a world shrouded in secrecy where warehouse workers are subjected to a gruelling work regime and obsessive monitoring.

A boom in online shopping has led to an explosion of warehouse jobs, with around a million people working in distribution centres across the UK. In many towns, warehouse work is now one of the few options available to young people.

In the “customer-fixated” culture of distribution centres, ‘idle time’ (toilet breaks and conversations) and ‘pick’ or ‘aspirational’ rates (number of items picked per hour) are constantly measured with 24-hour surveillance, which can lead to disciplinary hearings and ruthless “off-boarding” (sacking). Pregnant women routinely fall below their target ‘pick rate’ and are subjected to constant CCTV and algorithmic surveillance, “self-enhancement plans” and monitoring.

Starring alongside Aimee-Ffion Edwards and Poppy Lee Friar are Craig Parkinson as Senior Manager Danny, Kimberley Nixon as manager Donna, Aled ap Steffan as warehouse worker Devon and Sion Daniel Young as manager Sean.

Shot in Wales, Life and Death in the Warehouse is directed and created by multi-award-winning Joseph Bullman who also directed Killed by My Debt and The Left Behind and produced by Tracie Simpson for BBC Studios Drama Productions with Aysha Rafaele as Executive Producer.

Speaking about the new one-off drama, BBC Three Controller Fiona Campbell said "This factual-based drama will no doubt raise some questions. We know that this is what the best factual programmes do, they help people understand the world they are living in and drive conversation about stories relevant right now."

Executive Producer Aysha Rafaele added "We may not think about this but every time we click for a next-day delivery there's a person at the other end, working in a warehouse to fulfil that need."

"Our latest BBC Three drama shines a light on this terrifying new reality where workers can be constantly surveilled, bullied to keep their pick rates up,  every moment of idle time calculated to the second. I hope this film will help raise awareness of the taxing demands many young people are facing in their workplace today."

Life and Death in the Warehouse will air later this year on BBC Three


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