Documentary following four privileged, British, ex-public school girls as they leave the Home Counties and head to Newcastle to experience living on the breadline for ten days.
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Newcastle upon Tyne, cultural capital of the Northeast,
and famously a party city.
This programme contains some strong language.
But it's also home to some of the most deprived areas in the whole of the UK.
In the Northeast, we have the highest unemployment rate in the country.
A quarter of children in the Northeast live below the poverty line.
It's soon to be home to four posh girls from down South.
We should all have jobs. I don't really want one.
Increasingly, British society is divided between the haves...
I quite like the gold Rolex.
..and the have-nots.
There's been times when I've not even had the money to put gas and electric on.
I've had no choice but to be on benefit.
And with the two sides mixing less and less, there's more risk of prejudice.
You lazy buggers. Get off your arse and go to work.
Most rich people really are stuck-up.
Over the next ten days, these privileged young ladies
will learn about life on the breadline with the help of four Geordie guides.
They'll get a first-class Geordie education from their Northern sisters...
-Shy bairns get noot.
..and acquire new skills.
It's good to see them doing some hard graft labour, innit?
But there's a whole lot to learn when they enrol at the Geordie Finishing School for Girls.
I don't know how people do this.
Oh, no, I'm going to cry.
Four affluent young ladies from the South of England are heading north into the unknown.
-That's not going to work.
-They'll be swapping their cosseted lives and designer clothes.
For ten days, they'll experience what it's like living on jobseeker's allowance in some of most
disadvantaged wards in the country.
I've never been north of Cardiff, I've never been on a public bus
and I've definitely never been on a council estate.
21-year-old Steph is a politics student and competitive rower.
I'm expecting to find grey buildings and grey roads and grey sky,
a sort of grey ambience of miserable sort of dreariness.
20-year-old Fi is a drama student,
whose daddy is an international banker.
Oh, no, I missed it.
I've always been in the south
and I've grown up here so it's kind of in my comfort zone.
It's literally like I'm going into a blank space.
That's what I'm most scared about, not knowing.
That's my rabbit coat.
24-year-old Lucy, a financier's daughter,
works as an events manager.
I've never been to Geordie land, but I imagine they would probably wear
some matching tracksuits, hoodies, trampy styles.
I hope it's going to be safe.
I'm really scared when I think about it.
# I'll let you be a fool for me. #
24-year-old singer-songwriter Fiona is engaged to a banker.
I know that there's a high level of teen pregnancy in the North.
I don't know why. Less to do maybe?
It's the morning of enrolment. The four girls are taking their first tentative steps
towards a world they've only ever heard about.
-I love you.
-I love you, too, baby.
I don't want to go.
-Have a wonderful time.
I want to turn back. Oh, my God.
For the first few days of their finishing school experience,
the posh girls will be exposed to the effects of poverty
on a section of British society they would rarely ever meet.
If they're going to stand any chance of graduating, they'll need to learn to fit in, and fast.
Guiding the Southern girls through the whole experience is Huffty,
something of a local legend when it comes to youth work in the city.
So you don't want to do contraception?
Marni, you've got a baby.
With over 20 years' experience of helping young people, she's out to challenge some negative stereotypes.
Very good, Lucy, and what are you going to do at university?
The Geordie stereotype is that we're all lazy, on the dole,
we're chavs, or charvers, as we say up here,
and we all have millions of kids before we're 21.
The reality is that we're friendly, straight-talking, we've got a great sense of community,
and that's why it's really important for these Southern lasses
to come up here and find out what's right and what's wrong.
Helping Huffty to show the posh girls around Newcastle are four young women,
who have grown up on some of the most disadvantaged streets in the city.
How are you feeling about the fact that these girls might feel a little bit prejudiced about yous?
I've always been taught to treat people with respect
and let them state their opinion, because I think everybody's allowed to have their own opinion.
18-year-old Shauna grew up in Newcastle's best-known council area,
-This here is the Byker Wall.
I wouldn't walk through the Byker Wall on my own at night. Oh, no.
I'm not really bothered about money, to be honest.
Money can only buy you certain things.
It can't buy you, like, family and things like that and friends.
They come from wealthy backgrounds. Everything's handed them on a plate and they'll talk like this.
And they'll turn up with a Gucci bag and Prada this and all the rest of it.
I can guarantee that mam and dad put a grand in their bank every month.
Unemployed, single, and a mum of two, life on benefits
is a daily battle for Makylea.
Everything's a struggle, thinking, "Oh, where's tomorrow's meal going to come from?"
In an ideal world, I'd provide my children with a proper meal, not beans on toast every day.
-What do you say?
-Thank you. Cheers.
OK, so what do you think if they start calling you things like "charvers"?
I'd say, "I'm proud to be a charver."
-Very good, Lyndsey.
-I'd say, "I'm proud to be a charver."
I'm not ashamed of it. I'm not a charver charver, but...I am who I am.
Youth worker Lyndsey came up the hard way
on the city's toughest estates.
Me mouth got us into a lot of trouble.
I was sort of the ringleader and I led people astray, really.
Where I'm from, if you're posh, you're either a policeman, social services, council.
There's definitely prejudice about people with posh accents.
We'll have them swearing. By the time they go back down, they'll be different people.
I bet their mothers and fathers will be, "Damned disgrace!"
Kimberley is 20 and lives with
her large close-knit family and her young son.
I think I suffer Tourette's syndrome.
Hey, that's my downfall, it's just the swearing.
They will be shocked, but we'll make them feel welcome.
We'll not push them out and we'll not make them feel like outsiders one bit.
How do you think they're going to feel when they arrive in Newcastle?
-I think they'll shit theirselves.
The first of the Southern girls to arrive is Lucy.
I just... I can't believe this is really happening.
What have I let myself in for?
The Northeast suffers the highest rate of unemployment in the UK and it's a situation due to worsen
following recent public sector job cuts.
I'm thinking really bad thoughts right now.
For the next ten days, the girls will be living in
an ex-council house in the disadvantaged ward of Walker.
The area has the worst unemployment in Newcastle at 18%.
Oh, my God.
Recently refurbished, the des res here is nevertheless a world away from life in Chelsea.
Oh, my God.
Oh, my God.
Next Southerner up, Fiona Culley, gets her first glimpse of the North.
In your head, like, you'll paint it out like
you're going to be somewhere really scary, so you work it all out.
This is just, like, pretty normal to me.
Oh, my God.
-Hello. Nice to meet you.
Come and have a look round.
-Ooh, bunk beds.
Ah, it's kind of like being at school again.
-Yeah, did you board?
And there's a little bathroom.
As the girls make themselves at home, at the Women's Centre,
the Geordies are about to find out who they've been paired with.
First up is Fiona Culley.
By looking at that, I think she's going to be very well-spoken, like very, "Oh, gosh, that's ghastly."
-"Oh, gosh, she's got two children. Oh, no!"
-Lyndsey gets Lucy.
-She looks wild.
She looks like she's had her tits done, doesn't she?
She looks a bit, like, ditsy.
She's the sort of person I'd think would walk round the Jubilee estate
with iPod out and her black beret, and wave it about and stuff like that.
You know what I mean? She's not really streetwise.
They've got no internet here.
-Might need to be outside.
While they wait for their final two housemates, Lucy and Fiona decide to brave Walker.
-Everyone's staring at us.
-It's because we're blonde, that's it.
This is different to Waitrose.
Oh, my God, that is vile.
Bacon grill. What is that?
-Do you know, like, what this stuff...
-You know what spam is.
-Course you know what that is.
-It's, like, weird meat.
-Is it kept in a tin? I just don't understand.
-It lasts for a very long time.
-Just in case.
-Are there any 24-hour shops round here?
-Not round here, no.
-Shauna is partnered with Fi Wishart.
-Looks like she lives on a farm.
-She lives on a farm.
She doesn't look rich.
-And Kimberley will be with Stephanie Hislop.
-And that shirt was at least 100 quid.
Them boots have got to be at least 100.
All-in-all about £500 for an outfit that she's got on there.
Worried that the posh girls will stand out on the estates,
-Huffty sets the Geordies the task of finding clothes to help them blend in.
-Bargain hunting here we come.
With just £30 to dress each posh girl, the Geordies head into town looking for bargains.
-Leggings.... Where's the leggings?
-But I cannae can't find...
Choosing the right clothes for her Southerner might be tricky for Lyndsey.
Lucy's a girl with expensive tastes.
She likes to shop in London's smartest boutiques.
-How much is it, again?
-Like 400 quid. It's like another coat, isn't it?
I love the shoes. They're adorable. I love them.
So about 800, and the shoes 250.
I'll just call Mummy.
I've never really actually needed to work.
My father is very generous and sort of made provisions for me
so that money's never really that much of an issue.
From the picture, she looked like she dresses up a lot and likes a lot of glitter and
make-up, so I bought her jeans and a hoodie just to dress her down a bit.
Mine comes from a farm so I'll get her some dungarees.
-I would wear that.
-We would wear this so it's comfortable but it's not trying to go OTT.
Kimberly has a treat in store for Steph.
If she turned her nose up, I'd drag her in the bathroom and she'd have no choice to get them on.
I went out shopping for them. It took us hours.
Why did I have to get the long one?
That's me sorted. I'm not changing my mind.
That's it. I'm sorted.
-I want some bracelets.
She needs a bit of bling in her life.
Back at the house, the third posh girl has arrived...
..and it hasn't taken Steph long to get stuck in.
Jolly nice, actually.
With a few basics already in the house,
this is the last food they'll cook without worrying about the bill.
Girls, do you want some more?
I'm OK, thanks. Help yourself.
-Drama student Fi Wishart is the final girl to arrive.
You need to drink wine after you've travelled.
I'm so tired.
I missed it. What were you doing?
I was at home seeing a performance.
I'm excited about bunk beds.
-That has excited me.
-Did you go to boarding school?
-So you're used to bunk beds.
-Everyone's in the same boat.
Everyone's gone, "Bunk beds, fine."
-Haven't had them for ten years...
-Yeah, I know.
The four posh girls have no idea what to expect from their Geordie finishing school experience.
-How are you?
-Champion, thank you.
So Huffty comes round to give them the low-down.
So welcome to Newcastle, lasses.
-I can't do anything but applaud yous. I think yous are dead brave.
Huffty wants them to manage on £73.87p, the equivalent of jobseeker's allowance.
After deductions for basics already in the house, their budget has shrunk to £59.
-So that's what you're going to survive on.
-For ten days?
-For ten days.
-59. Compared to what I'm used to in London,
How much would £59 normally last you, then, Lucy?
I don't even want to say. I'm so embarrassed.
-Two days, yeah.
To make sure they don't get tempted, Huffty's taking their cash and credit cards for safekeeping.
And for their safety, she wants their jewellery, too.
There's lots of issues in this area with drug and alcohol abuse, antisocial behaviour.
It's not an area that you might be used to.
For an example, last week, there was a lad who was stripped naked
by a bloke who robbed him on the street cos he liked his trainers,
he liked his Levi jeans and he liked his tracksuit top.
Now, if that's for some clothes, what are they going to be like when they see your jewellery?
For Fiona, giving over her jewellery isn't easy.
She's just got engaged with a dazzling ring.
-It's coming off, though, isn't it?
-It is, because I don't want your finger to be chopped off.
-And Huffty has another proposal to stop them standing out.
-The clothes the Geordie girls chose for them.
-I've got a really mumsy outfit.
-Oh, that's really cool.
Strange - I don't really wear casual clothes.
Do we have to wear these clothes tomorrow?
Well, they were picked for you especially by your Geordie lasses,
erm, individually. So, it's up to you. They picked them for you.
It'd be rude not to, especially if they've picked it out for us, too.
Good. So get a good night's sleep and I look forward to seeing yous all tomorrow, right?
I'm going to try all these on before I go to bed.
Who turns up to live in Walker, in Newcastle,
with a big rock like that on their finger?
I mean, 99.9% of Geordies are lovely, friendly people.
And dead honest.
But you've got the odd radge who'd take exception to that - they'd take it off her finger.
They'd take her finger, too. It's absolutely ridiculous.
It's day one of Finishing School,
time for their Geordie fashion makeover.
I feel like Jessie J... # Jessie J! #
I feel a bit like a moron right now.
I've got some amazing jewellery, which will replace my rings.
I think it's going to replace the diamond nicely!
And what does Steph make of Kim's personal shopping?
I think she's done really well. This is really nice.
For Officer Training Corps Cadet Steph Hislop, university life
is all about getting stuck in.
If I had to summarise my lifestyle...
it would be Carpe Diem, which is Latin for "seize the day".
She thinks the trip north could boost her career,
which she hopes will start in the Civil Service.
In my day-to-day life, I do not meet working class people by and large.
And to have a very thorough and detailed understanding of how the rest of society works,
will be very beneficial to me in my future political career.
Before classes begin, the privileged girls' first challenge is to go
and knock for the Geordie they've been paired with.
Armed with scant directions and their benefit money,
they have to cross the alien city on their own
-and into the council estate of a girl they've never met before.
-I don't know where I am.
For the first time in their lives, their money isn't protecting them.
Oh, no! I don't want to go.
-I don't want to go to the bus stop!
Cos everyone's going to be looking at me funny.
Steph is determined to see the positives.
The area's absolutely charming, I haven't seen any sign of poverty yet.
-If I wanted to go to Granger Street, am I on the right side of the road?
-Yeah, you are.
-I am? Smashing. Thanks very much.
Charming. Delightful. Really, really friendly.
And absolutely gorgeous!
With no knowledge of the area, Lucy's succeeded in making it as far as the notorious Rye Hill Estate
and the family home of her guide, Lyndsey.
Probably aren't very many Chelsea girls walking along the road
with bloody tweed on and a Louis Vuitton handbag!
-Once one of the most run-down estates in Newcastle and a crime black spot,
Rye Hill was a no-go area for outsiders,
because of girls like Lyndsey.
A lot of people would say I was trouble. When I was younger, aye.
My middle name was trouble.
I got led into different things,
like taking drugs and, um, drinking a lot,
doing things that I shouldn't have been doing really.
I got in trouble with the police quite a lot. Pretty normal.
If you got arrested it was like, "She's been nicked again. What has she done now?"
Lyndsey's now turned things around and trained as a youth worker,
helping kids stay out of trouble.
-Hi, I'm Lucy
Thanks so much for my clothes. Look, I'm wearing them.
-Are you wearing them? Do you like them?
-I love them.
I definitely had the coolest.
Everyone was like, "Ah, you've got a really good outfit."
-I've got that top actually.
-It's really nice.
-Do you like your earrings?
-Oh, yeah, look.
Lyndsey wants to teach Lucy how tough things can be growing up here.
This is the main square where we used to knock about.
-All these houses were empty and boarded up.
No-one really wanted to live there.
-I don't think no-one would even want to squat there.
-Oh my God!
There's been massive council investment in the area
since Lyndsey was growing up,
but it suffers from unemployment three times higher than the city.
Only a third of children leave school with five or more GCSEs
-grade C or above.
-That was our area.
If anyone else came in it, then there was trouble.
-We sort of like claimed the area.
-There was a lot of fighting with weapons and stuff.
-What sort of weapons?
-Oh my God, you're joking.
Oh, my God. I'm only laughing because I'm just like so like...
That's so bad. I don't know anyone that...
It's like if you've got to fight, you've got to fight,
-you've got to look after yourself, really.
All across the city, the posh girls are meeting their Geordie guides.
The imposing Byker Wall is a world away from anything Fi's used to.
-These are like houses.
-Yeah, these are houses and you've got a primary school that I went to.
And Fiona is meeting single mum, Makylea.
-We've been given job seeker's allowance.
You can learn a budget yourself, can't you?
I've been on jobseeker's a few times now.
-It's just been so difficult, like childcare situation.
Meanwhile for the first time in her life, Steph's boarded a public bus.
As it makes its way across town, she's mentally preparing to explore more unknown territory -
the council estate home of her Geordie guide, Kimberley.
Mother of two year old Jayden, Kimberley is a care assistant
who lives at home with her parents.
Got me nephew in the corner.
Probably done a bunk from school early. That's a typical Geordie.
I come from a very big family. I have five sisters and a brother.
There's three off we work, one's on the sick,
the other two is on the dole and so is my brother.
Here's your pony. That's his pony.
If their friend that's coming up from the South wants to have a go, there's one for her.
I am privileged to have such a big family.
I do hope that she doesn't just see this and think,
"Well they're just this and that," when we really are nice people.
-Hi, I'm Kimberley, nice to meet you.
-Good to meet you, I'm Steph.
Hello. Oh, shy.
Hi, I'm Steph.
-Have a seat.
-Do you have any children?
-I don't, no. No, no.
Do you have a partner?
I have a boyfriend, we've been together a year.
-I have a husband, in Afghanistan at the minute.
-Do you know my father did a tour of Afghan.
My father's in the Army.
-Small world really, isn't it?
I tell you what, Army world, is crazy small.
-What regiment is your husband in?
-Royal Tank Regiment.
A normal squaddie really. I'm really glad of that.
Knowing he's driving around and he's not actually walking.
It keeps my mind at ease a bit.
-There's a lot of stairs.
-When did you get married?
-On the 2nd October last year.
-Two weeks, we were married two weeks and he was gone.
-Thanks very much.
The house is really nice.
The kitchen is clean and they've got appliances that I wouldn't expect necessarily.
It's a surprise that they've all the mod cons, if you like.
It is a small house for that many people to be living in.
It's very rare to find three generations living under the same roof
but I think, in terms of society,
there couldn't be anything more healthy because
it just breeds a real family spirit and that's delightful.
Now that they've met their Geordie guides, the finishing school lessons can begin.
Newcastle's central market is the perfect place for a class
on how to make jobseeker's allowance stretch to feed them for ten days.
This is a budgeting task. This is the Grainger Market.
You'll get excellent produce and you'll get it at a fantastic price.
The Geordie girls have some advice.
-Ask for a penny long stand.
-A paddy long stand?
-No, a penny long stand.
-A penny long stand?
Yeah, a penny long stand.
-It's not going to be like a cow's penis?
-Right, let's go.
Good luck. >
To see if the posh girls are managing their money, the Geordie girls get to watch on a TV monitor.
Oh, my God, can't see what that is.
As well as shopping for themselves, tonight they'll be cooking dinner for the Geordies.
So Huffty has given them an extra tenner to buy some regional specialities.
Do you do pease pudding?
-What is it?
It's just pease pudding, you know, with peas.
Do you sell plate pies?
-Yeah, we do. We've got some her the minute.
-One of those, then, please.
Is there anything else on there? Oh, and a penny long stand.
There's no penny long stands here. It doesn't exist. That is somebody taking the mick.
-You can hear them laughing.
Tonight's meal in hand, they can get back to buying food for the week,
and Steph shows she has an eye for a bargain.
-Ten for 1.80?
-We can do that.
-We might as well. We can freeze them forever.
They're trying to budget, I think.
-Look at those steaks.
-How incredible do they look?
-..they plump for the cheaper cuts of meat.
-Shall we get, like, a pound of sausages?
-Yeah, that'd be good.
Two of these, two of these and one of those.
1.99 for that.
Steph and Fiona look good at budgeting.
Got it all?
I think the other two are a little bit clueless.
HUFFTY: 'They're buying hats?'
Ooh, shall we get some garlic?
-She looks a bit lost, doesn't she?
-Aye, she looks lost.
-'Do you think she's ever been on a budget?
-No, I don't think so.'
Spend, spend, spend.
-How much is that now?
-Are you on a budget, like?
-So it's a real strict budget.
-It is a strict budget.
That's why we were hoping you'd give it to us for free.
You've got more chance of getting a kiss off a crocodile.
Fiona, nothing in Newcastle's free.
'Regardless of you having a pretty little face,'
you're not going to get it for nowt.
Working as a group, the Southern girls pass this test and leave with
enough food to feed themselves for six days for just £20.
Thinking about how to make a little money go a long way
is a step in the right direction, but they still have a lot more to learn
to understand how poverty affects people.
Huffty wants them to see how different their lives are from that of their Geordie sisters.
-Right, lasses... Lasses. Lasses.
What we're going to do now is get to know each other a bit more, as a group.
So she's devised a series of questions about money and upbringing to get the debate flowing.
The question is - what do your parents do? And the answer is -
they're both on benefits.
This answer's close to home for all of the Geordies, but it's Makylea's.
-How long have they been on benefits?
-Me mam, probably her whole life.
-I'm not too sure about my dad, cos we only met a couple of years ago.
OK, Fi, what about your parents?
My dad is a banker, and my mum doesn't do anything.
Is that because your dad's got loads of money? And she doesn't need...
-No, I'm not being rude...
-She is a lady of leisure. She doesn't do anything.
-Do you get money off your parents?
-Like an allowance?
-How much do you get off of them?
-£700 a month.
That's my wage! I go to work and I graft really hard
for 12 hours, and I come out with what yous get for an allowance.
Does anybody want to swap lifestyles?!
THEY ALL LAUGH
OK, what is the most luxurious item you have bought for yourself or had bought for you?
-And the answer is - bought a necklace when I was younger. Lyndsey, is it you?
How long did you save for it?
Had to go down the shop every week and pay, like, as much as I could off.
-Lucy, what about you?
-My parents bought me a flat in London.
OK, next one. Where did you go to school?
And the answer is - I have attended International School in South Africa till I was seven,
then I went to boarding school in Dorset in England.
-You've travelled the world?
-I've never been on a plane before in my life.
-Oh, my God!
-I've never been abroad.
For single mum Makylea, holidays abroad are just a dream.
Do you want to go on the roundabout?
She has more pressing issues, like surviving.
It's really hard to get a job in Newcastle at the moment.
I mean, God, I've been looking for absolute months.
I've been to shops handing my CVs out,
and I'm just trying to move me life in a positive direction, like a positive path.
I don't want to sit down and be on benefits, because what example am I setting for my children?
I want them to see you've got to go out and work for things that you want in life.
So, boarding school, then?
-Yeah, boarding school since I was seven.
-Did you not miss your family?
You move into a new family.
-You've got house parents and you've got 60 sisters.
-It was like a massive sleepover with all your friends.
It was probably, yeah, the best seven years of my life.
I couldn't ever, ever put my son in boarding school. Never, ever.
I love him too much. I know it was for their best interests,
but if you're a good mother, I think you should stick by your children.
Then one of them says her dad bought her a house. That was a big shock.
I would love my dad to buy me a house, absolutely love it.
-See you later.
Splashing out round here tends to be on the simpler stuff.
Huffty's asked Lyndsey to give Lucy a taste of a Geordie treat - getting your nails done.
They're so weird.
-I've never seen anything quite like it.
-Do you like them?
Yeah, I think they'll grow on me.
I just don't want to look too Essex-y.
-There's nowt wrong with that.
Over at the girls' house in Walker, Fi and Fiona have to cook dinner for eight on a budget,
but the pease pudding is perplexing them.
I'm not sure if you're meant to eat it raw.
No, you must have to cook it.
-It doesn't give instructions.
-Oh, my God! That smells like a garden.
-It smells like mud.
-Let's just see what it's got in it.
No, but check, check, check.
Does it not say directions?
-What does it taste like?
It's kind of like sweet corn.
You just need to heat it up. It's kind of nice.
-Don't like it?
-See, I don't really go out a lot.
Last time I was out, I think it was, like, Christmas or something.
I'd have been out last night, tonight and tomorrow.
-The bad thing is, the booze is free.
-Yeah. Magnums of vodka, champagne.
-That'd be brilliant.
-How come you don't go out so much now?
-I done it all when I was younger.
I used to go to bars when I was, like, 14.
How did you get in? Fake ID?
-No, just walked in. I've always looked older.
-I was about to say.
Like, with older people. So, like I say, I've done it all before and I'm sort of, like, bored of it.
She used to be a massive party animal when she was, like, 14 years old. What was I doing at 14?
Sort of parties without alcohol, completely different,
whereas she'd be sat on her wall outside the house drinking cider and stuff.
It's just different worlds.
Despite the enormous gulf, tonight the Southerners are serving up their budget cuisine.
But Lucy's got other things on her mind.
-I've never had them done before.
-Are they acrylic?
-They're going to bugger your nails.
She's picking me some flowers, bless her!
Tell her she'll get fined.
Steph! Steph, stop doing that. You'll get fined.
It's a council house and council garden. You'll get fined.
I swear to God. How many are you...?
THEY ALL GIGGLE
She was like, "No way!"
-How are you?
-I've brought you something.
This is Newcastle's finest champagne.
-That's battery acid that we can afford to drink. Geordie champagne.
-How is the food coming on?
We have decided to cook sausages.
-Thank you! Because I'm absolutely clamming.
-Yeah, it means starving.
-Like, I'm absolutely clamming. It means starving.
-Like a clam?
-Like a clam, as in the seafood clam?
"Clam" is like "clammy" - it means sticky and gross.
-No, clamming to us Geordies is, like, starving.
I think we're ready.
So what will they make of their budget dinner?
-Oh, we've got peas.
Wow. I'm going to enjoy every last crumb of this.
-How's the potato thing? What does it taste like?
-It's really, really, really nice.
-The plate pie is like quiche, but just with a pastry topping.
It's so delicious.
Seems like it hit the spot with both groups of girls.
-The sausages are cracking.
-The sausages are really nice.
Them sausages are dead distinctive.
-What does "distinctive" mean?
-I don't know.
-Well done, well done.
-Aye. High-five on the meal.
I'm not being funny, but when yous move out, I'm going to ask how much it is to rent this place.
What do you do to get a council...? How do you go and apply for one?
You go into the council and get a housing form,
and it can take anywhere from weeks to months to years before you hear for a house.
-I've been on the waiting list for absolute donkeys.
-What are the priorities?
Priorities, like, people with kids, people with issues, like drug and alcohol issues,
-It just goes on points and how many points you've got,
and unless you're in danger or you've got five kids in a two-bedroom house,
-you are not getting moved.
-Even it it's really bad.
Housing is just one problem affecting these Geordie girls.
Trying to live on low wages or benefits means they often don't have enough to get by on.
I really, really have to do a hell of a lot and I'm still left with not a penny.
You don't go without sort of, you know, going to the pub for a drink or two?
-Sometimes I have to walk to work
because I haven't got a bus fare to get to work and I have to walk back.
If I need to save money for, like, say it was Mother's Day,
I've had to sit in for a couple of weeks so I know I've got money. I wish I could ring my parents and...
My parents have had to sacrifice for my education.
I mean, a boarding school of £26,000 a year doesn't come without sacrifice.
My mother's gone without a wonderful wardrobe, my parents don't drive fancy cars,
because they love me so much that they've given up all the things
that they would quite like to have in their life, and could do, if they'd just sent me to state school.
My mam and dad love me a lot, but they've got nowt to sacrifice, if you know what I mean!
It's just different worlds. Different...
-It's like living on two different planets, really.
-It completely is.
My ma's told me stories about when I was younger
with my big sister, and she had, like, two bits of bread left and two eggs left for the whole week
and she gave me and my sister it, and she starved for the whole week.
It's been a full-on day, with lots of discoveries for the privileged girls.
-They're coming to understand a bit about how the other half live.
-Thank you very much for having us.
I just couldn't believe it when they were saying that about the food.
God, I felt sick. Like, all of us went to boarding school
and how much our parents spent on school fees, let alone school dinners, and it's...
Yeah, it's just insane... and different ball games.
But they're not all completely sympathetic.
It is heart-wrenching to think that people do actually live on the poverty line, or below it,
and yet I find it very difficult to understand
because I see them with BlackBerries
and I see that they sort of have modern appliances in their houses.
Whilst I can never appreciate what it must be like to live on as tight budget as they often do,
um...I am mildly sceptical about where the money actually goes.
I don't think they could imagine what it's like to be me at all.
They'll have to spend more time with us to understand what it's like to be one of us,
to understand what it's like to have your gas and electric run out, or work for what you want in life.
It's really hard.
Oh, my God, these bloody nails.
I don't like them. I think they're really chavvy.
So, now I'm stuck with these, like, giant talons.
-They've wrecked everything.
-Only cos you can't suck your thumb.
-It looks horrible.
Being forced to survive on jobseeker's allowance
has made the girls resort to a packed lunch, Geordie-style...
-It smells really good.
-..stottie with pease pudding.
Basically, it's just bread.
It looks a bit gross, but it didn't taste too bad. Oh, God.
-I'm putting loads of cheese on yours for you.
The girls are making a good start at living on a budget, but they need to be tested further on fitting in.
Today presents a perfect opportunity.
It's match day in Newcastle...
..the day when the Geordie nation is unified by the famous black and white stripes
of the city's football club.
But before the girls are let loose on the supporters,
there's one area where they still need a little work - the Geordie language.
Comedian and linguistic expert Simon Donald has been called in
to provide their next lesson - Geordie elocution...
Stand up, ladies.
All of us?
No, no - just the posh ones.
That's why he said "ladies".
..starting with a classic.
How now brown cow.
Can you say after me?
-How now brown cow.
Right. Hoo noo broon coo.
-Hoo noo broon coo.
It's changing your mouth, cos you're like, hoo noo broon coo.
Try saying "pher-ter".
So, one, two, three.
(GEORDIE ACCENT) Photo-copier.
By Geordie, I think they've got it!
-Got to think of something useful to teach these girls. One sentence?
-From this area? Fuck right off.
There is a different attitude towards swearing around the country.
That may be one area where you will maybe struggle to fit in.
Come up with four expressions to teach your partners.
There's a lot of Geordie to get to grips with. Like the sounds...
Pet, ya kna shy bairns get noot.
Ya kna shy bairns get noot.
-..and of course the swearing.
-You fuckin' takin' the piss!
I love swearing in Geordie, it's so much more fun!
Oh, God, my parents are going to watch this.
After a morning of practice, Simon is happy to pass them,
with one last bit of advice.
The people of Newcastle are very friendly when it comes to everything unless you look at them funny.
Basically, snobbery is one thing they don't like.
So, let's see if you can go out into the wilds of Newcastle and use what you've learned.
-Thank you very much!
-Lovely to meet you all!
Time to try out their new skills on the Geordie nation.
Can the Southerners really fit in amongst the local football supporters?
I want you to experience the whole culture o' Geordieland.
This is a great way to do it, by gan to the match.
Everybody up for it?
Huffty is leading them to a busy bar in the stadium.
Supporters are called the Toon Army.
Why is it "toon"?
As in "town".
-Ah! You're Town Army?
Eager to fit in, or after a souvenir, the girls set their hearts on replica shirts.
Can you afford shirts?
-I don't know. How much are they?
-That's what I've got for the next ten days.
They certainly can't afford £35 on their benefits.
Does anyone want to buy me a shirt?!
But these girls are canny lasses.
They find ones in the sale for a fiver.
It's an unnecessary purchase
but as a Newcastle fan, Huffty isn't going to lecture them.
Lasses, I am so proud of yous. Honestly!
You're really getting into the Toon Army spirit.
If you were going to blow your benefit on anything,
blowing them on Newcastle United tops, that's the way to gan, lasses! That's the way to gan.
Shauna, take care of them!
Come on, then!
Remembering what they've learned about avoiding giving dirty looks,
-the posh girls launch a Southern charm offensive.
-Do you like our T-shirts?
They discover Geordie guys are rather eager to chat with them...
..and to help them hone their skills.
The bairn's all hacky from larking in the clarts.
The bairn is all...
-..from larking in the mart.
-In the clarts.
-In the clarts?
-How is clarts mud?
You're, like, "I don't make it up!"
That's just what it is!
This particular test's gone more smoothly for Fiona than the other girls.
-We did talk to a few Geordie men.
-They were hammered, to be honest.
Yeah, they were all a bit hammered.
So, like, the accent was even harder to understand.
The men were friendly, though, weren't they? They were really friendly to me.
Why's that funny?
Why's that funny, babe?
The posh girls have now been living on the equivalent of benefits for three days.
They may not all be dressing like Geordies, but they've succeeded in feeling at ease in the city.
And their eyes are starting to open to some of the issues of hardship in disadvantaged areas,
particularly when it comes to their Geordie guides.
20-year-old youth worker Lyndsey has invited Lucy to meet some of her family.
Hiya. You all right?
Welcome. Come in. It's just through there.
-This is Paul, me little brother, and Christina. They're twins.
Growing up in a single-parent family,
Lyndsey took on a lot of responsibility at a very young age.
I found meself looking after the younger brother and sister.
Taking 'em to school and stuff. Making sure they were safe.
You put them before yourself.
That's so nice.
'It's just something I do and it's something that's actually helped us a lot in me life now.
'Although it's hard, it's...did nae harm to me.'
Well, I don't think it did, anyway!
We've always been like a family where we help each other
and it was just normal, like, to watch the bairn for half an hour.
As a big sister, Lyndsey has always acted as a role model,
although they still remember when she wasn't a good one.
Do you remember when me mam tried to ground her?
She jumped out of the top window of the house.
She had inches, like, these inch-high heels
and she jumped out the window cos me ma tried to ground her.
She told me she was a party animal when she was younger.
Do you go out? Are you like a mini-Lyndsey?
She goes out with her friends and that
but obviously when I've... She'll see me do it all so I think...
Well, have you learnt your lesson?
I don't normally drink on street corners.
Your friends do.
Me friends do, I don't.
I've seen it all with Lyndsey, I don't want to go through that!
Meeting Lyndsey has changed my opinion on the girls that I thought would be up here completely.
I didn't realise how hard it really was.
I don't know, like, I don't think I'd be able to do what she's done.
So far in Newcastle, the girls have been hearing about what it means to grow up with little money.
Now Huffty wants to push them even further.
Drug abuse is a common problem that deprived communities have to live alongside.
At 16, Natalie moved to Newcastle from Greece for a better education
but ended up developing a drug habit.
Her mum Nouli has been trying to get her off heroin
for the last five years.
Natalie has been given a new flat to help her find some independence,
and Huffty wants the girls to help do it up.
-Hello. Come on in.
-Thank you very much.
-Lasses, I'd like to introduce youth to Nouli. ALL:
-And this is her daughter Natalie, and this is Natalie's flat.
-So, do you want to be getting your gear on?
-We'll get down to some hard work.
While Steph and Lucy get to work on the garden,
Fiona and Fi begin painting the bathroom.
These are all jobs Natalie can't do on her own as she has limited mobility.
Do you mind telling us what is going on with your leg?
I've had six operations on it. That's one of them.
-I have had one underneath. Ow!
-Careful, don't hurt yourself.
-How did it start?
Drug use, basically.
When I was young, I done a lot of naughty things.
You injected heroin in your leg?
In my groin, to be exact, because I really hammered my arms...
-..as you can tell.
I had loads of abscesses.
Oh, my God, it was like really gross,
like clumps of blood and crap just squirting out my arms
all over the place.
How did the whole thing start? How old were you?
Well, from about 16 onwards. I did use for about ten years, on and off.
How old are you now?
That looks great.
Mum Nouli was living in Greece when she heard her daughter was in a lot of trouble.
She dropped everything.
You must have been so kind of cut up?
Yes. It's a very, very bad thing for human nature, you know, drugs.
It can really destroy you.
It can really destroy your character, your life.
Did you see her take drugs?
Yes, of course. I see her taking drugs
and I see her overdose and...
Did she ever ask you to... because I know sometimes they do,
they ask you, please, they're begging you to help?
I did have sometimes to give her money to get drugs.
The dealer was downstairs and was expecting some money otherwise he would beat her,
so I had to give her, you know?
That's incredible. I don't know like... I'm sure my mum would do that...
-She'd do exactly the same.
Yes, because when you are a child is in this position,
it is so painful to see your child so vulnerable.
It's not as simple as drugs. It's the way she is after she does drugs.
Everybody can exploit her.
Everybody can...can abuse her.
Has she suffered sort of violence?
She did, yes, of course, because she was in the streets.
-Was she really?
-She was beaten, she was raped.
-She's been raped?
You're so brave.
I had no choice...have I?
-How did you buy the drugs?
-I did do prostitution, yeah. And other things.
So I'm staying away from that now.
I'm trying to survive but... Oh, don't cry. Come here. It's OK, don't cry.
Don't cry. I don't do it any more.
I know, but it's just so sad.
Well, a lot of women have to still do it, you know, so it's out there.
But my mum turned everything around.
She got me somewhere to stay and she's done a lot for me.
I'm sorry I upset you. I'm emotional, too.
All the painting has gone down the hill.
It doesn't matter, it's OK, don't worry. You've done most of it. It looks really nice.
We've got loads more to do, though.
Natalie has been clean of heroin for ten months.
In the bathroom, the chat has turned to future plans.
I get married next year.
I've actually bought a wedding dress - I found it in a cheap shop.
-Have you got it?
-I sort of put it on sometimes.
-Where is it?
-I'm never going to get married. It's in my wardrobe.
-Do you want to see it?
Come on. Bedroom.
-I'm obsessed with wedding dresses.
-So am I! It actually fits me, and shit.
It's in here somewhere. Ah!
-I've even got the shoes that go with it.
-Oh, my God.
-How pretty is that?
-You can't say you'll never get married. You might get married.
You've got to have money to do things like that, and I don't.
-But honestly, 20 quid, how cool is that?
-That's so cute.
-I love that you have a wedding dress. I love that.
-Do you want to borrow it?
-Hiya. Oh, wow.
-We're getting there. We're getting there.
-It looks really good. Hello, strawberry plants.
How are you finding it?
Yeah, me, too.
-It's just brutal.
I don't think I've ever met somebody who said to me,
"I did... I was in prostitution to pay for anything," really.
Wow, that is really looking nice.
I'm going to be very proud of my garden.
You hear about things like that and you read about things like that,
but you don't sit in the same room as someone
that basically is brave enough to tell you all the things that have happened, and stuff,
things she's done to get drugs.
'I really hope that she kind of stays clean
'and can stay in this house, and things.'
The council giving money to make her better, for me,
is a like a good reason, you know,
and I think there definitely should be enough money from councils
for people that are fixing themselves like this,
instead of wasted on people that maybe don't deserve it as much as she does.
This experience is proving a lot tougher than they expected.
Oh, no, I'm going to cry.
Just can't think of, like, how...
I mean, sure, her life must have been just awful, to turn and do that.
Cos, like, I just can't think that I would ever, ever...
I can't speak!
..like I would ever turn to that, and she did,
and oh God, it upset me so much,
cos I think that's, like, the worst thing,
the most degrading thing for a girl to go through.
It's been four days since they enrolled at the Geordie Finishing School.
The four privileged girls from down south are just beginning to experience
the hardships of life on the breadline.
Huffty has called the four Geordie girls together to find out
how they think the Southerners have been doing.
-Who do you think IS being the most genuine? ALL:
-I don't know. It's just the way she is.
-She's very comfortable talking, isn't she?
-And she swears!
-It's a bonus, isn't it?
-Yeah, she swears.
Who do think is the most scared by what they've seen?
-I think Lucy.
I think Lucy as well. I think she's the most frightened.
When she's saying something, she's putting her point across but not fully.
-Who's finding it the hardest?
-That would be Lucy.
Finding it the hardest would be Lucy.
Sometimes when she's like talking, I feel like when I'm on about things, she just sits back...
She'll take it all in and not give it.
Sometimes I think like, oh God, does she feel intimidated?
She'll give her opinion but not her full opinion. She kind of holds back.
She will say some things
but I think she kind of holds her tongue in case she offends any of us.
Let wur see what they're like after a drink.
Let their true colours flow - that's when we'll see what they think of us,
Newcastle, wur homes and wur area.
Next time, the drink does start flowing at a proper Geordie house party...
I just can't believe how smashed everyone gets!
-We don't have house parties quite like this.
Next time you're going to think before you say the word "spunk".
..they get a taste of some messy work experience...
They made me not want a job even more.
-..and not everyone's happy...
-We're getting taken to this horrendous pub.
..when the boot's on the other foot.
-It does really good things for your boobs, babes.
-Aye, and I look dead skinny.
At the end of the day, I feel a million dollars in me dress,
so I don't give a fuck what anyone says.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
E-mail [email protected]
Four privileged young ladies swap their affluent lives down south for ten days of living on the breadline in the north. Steph, Fi, Lucy and Fiona are posh and pampered with virtually no experience of life at the other end of the social spectrum. Nor have any of them have ever ventured north before - or grappled with the Geordie accent.
In this first episode, the girls move into an ex-council house in one of the most disadvantaged wards in the city, Walker. Here unemployment is almost three times the national average and more than half its children are classed as living in poverty.
The girls immerse themselves in (what is to them) an alien and unfamiliar world and hand over their credit cards to live on the equivalent of jobseeker's allowance. Their guides are four local women, Shauna, Lyndsey, Makylea and Kimberley who educate the southerners in the harsh realities of living with little money. But the experience turns out to be a whole lot harder than they'd ever imagined.