Jamie Coulson follows the Border Agency as they break up sham marriages. Plus the progress of a man whose estranged father saved his life ten years ago by giving him a kidney.
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This week we investigate why some marriages are For Love, while
We joined the the Borders agency and as they disrupt the weddings
that they expect are simply to get into the UK.
Also tonight, would you give up a kidney for a loved one? We meet the
families donating their own organs because of a shortage of people on
the register. I don't know how to say thank you, really. I just hope
that you know. And, Shakespeare with the northern twang. We'd look
back at 20 years of Northern Broadsides bringing Shakespeare to
life. I think I was scared of Shakespeare as this construct for
For most people getting married would be one of the most important
days of their lives, but for others it is seen as an easy way of
entering the country by the back door. A Sham marriages, where
people tie the knot just to get residency in Britain, has become an
increasing problem. We joined the UK Border Agency in their latest
attempt to tackle the problem. The historic chapel of Hazlewood
Castle in North Yorkshire and childhood sweethearts Amy McHale
and Anthony Blasket are living the romantic dream. Would you take
Anthony as your husband? I will. With all their family and friends
sharing in the Big Day, their wedding is an experience they hope
to treasure for the rest of their lives. Possibly the most exciting
day. Nothing has topped it yet. not everyone sees life in such
romantic terms. Others have a completely different agenda. Sham
marriages are run by big international gangs who look at
ways to hang trade exploiter West Yorkshire, a world away from
Amy and Anthony's special day, preparations for an entirely
different kind of wedding are taking place. I'm at the Border
Agency HQ in Leeds city centre, where members of their specialist
Criminal and Financial Investigations team are preparing
to launch their latest operation on sham marriages. This operation will
take place this afternoon. Inside, more than 30 officers from the
agency are finalising their plan of action. Operation Polo involves an
Indian national and a French bride. Today, two suspect weddings are
scheduled in quick succession and the operation needs to be carefully
choreographed. How can you be sure that these are a sham marriages are
not normal ones? We have done an awful lot of work beforehand,
intelligence work. We have got excellent co-operation with the
registrars. It is the registrars to inform us of their suspicions. We
do all the checks with the police and other intelligence systems
dissatisfied herself the what we will be disrupting today is a sham
marriage. Briefing over, the team are now on their way to Leeds city
centre and the Registry Office where they believe the two sham
weddings are booked in. From here we need to be very discreet. Some
sham marriages are run by syndicates who employ spotters to
alert bogus brides and grooms if they are suspicious the Border
Agency are on their case. With plenty of time to go before the
first wedding takes place, the team enter via a back door and begin to
take up their position. We are all gathered in a room just down the
hall from where the wedding will take place. Now it is a waiting
game. The groom has turned up with another man. We have the bride as
well and three bridesmaids or witnesses. We are just waiting now
for confirmation that they have gone into the hall. A at what stage
do you decide it is time to go in? When they're inside and prepared to
be married. Two o'clock strikes. The first team are given the signal
to move in. I am from the Border Agency. We believe a sham marriages
about to take place and my officers will speak to you shortly. Sham
weddings are big business, with figures of up to �10,000 a time
changing hands. Typically, it's an Eastern European bride and a non-
European groom who will often pay a fixer to try and seek a way of
obtaining a marriage certificate to stay in this country. Just go with
my officer. All the parties are being split up and talk to about
the wedding. The groom has not objected at all. The key to this is
quick questioning, finding out what part everyone has here, and
deciding he is going to be arrested as part of a conspiracy. We will
get them out if you straight away and be ready for the next one.
are lead away, to be taken to separate police cells in West
Yorkshire. In operations over two separate fortnights in Leeds last
year Border Agency staff estimate they prevented 70 sham marriages
from going ahead. This second group has arrived so we are ready to go
on disrupt the second sham marriage of the day. Like the first
operation, there is a feeling of stunned silence as the officers go
about their work. It is a big deal to interrupt the wedding day.
It is not something we take lightly. With today's arrests coming to a
close, officers will continue their investigations into how the couples
came to this point. Charges vary from perjury to conspiring to
breach immigration law, with those convicted facing a maximum jail
sentence of 14 years. How has the operation gone? Both operations
were a success. How easy is it to disrupt these marriages? Certainly
since we have started doing this since March there has been an
increase and they have been brought to our attention on a more regular
basis, probably because the registrars are more aware of the
problem. Less than a mile from the Registry Office, the Parish Church
are also having to be more rigorous about who walks down the aisle.
Because of some of the abuses that did take place, we are now required
to check that the address that they have given us is a genuine address
by going to visit them, going to both houses of the bride and groom,
and we are required to check their identity by a series of documentary
evidence that proves they are who they say they are. Canon Bundock
says as a society we have a duty to ensure people seeking genuine
refuge in this country are given a chance. We have a sympathy for
everybody because you want to help people as Christians, especially
people in need. We are required to help strangers. We don't like
having to say no in any circumstance, but we can help
people to be dishonest and break the law. With 300 people arrested
for offences related to sham marriages in the past year, they
have become an increasing priority for the Government. The operations
that we went on, they were probably 30 officers to disrupt to sham
marriages. It seems to come expensive way to tackle the problem.
Disrupting an individual sham marriage, you obviously stop that
one and might arrest the facilitator, but it does send a
signal around the World's so it acts as a deterrent. A should more
Paras be given to register as to try and stop this process before it
even gets going? It is possible in the long run we might need to have
new legislation. Registrars are obliged to marry people who appear
legally to have the right to be married. That is something we are
looking at. For Amy and Anthony, marriage should mean a commitment
for life. It means different things for different people, but we have
been together a long time so it meant a long -- meant a lot to us.
Marriages are very precious thing that cement society together and
love is the thing that most of all makes the world go round. We have
seen to sham marriages here in Leeds. For many people are it
should be happiest day of their lives, but there has not been much
romance here. Following those nine arrests, the groom at the first
sham wedding has been deported while the bride and witnesses have
been released. The bridegroom and two witnesses at the second wedding
have been charged with conspiracy to breach immigration rules. In
addition, the bride and groom have Coming up: Shakespeare from the
heart of Halifax. We celebrate 20 years of Northern Broadsides bring
in the classics to live with them nor the and tone.
How would you feel that their loved one was dying and the only way to
save their life was to give up one of your own kidneys. It is a
difficult choice and one that people are being increasingly
forced to meet due to a lack of people being on the organ register.
Keeley Donovan has been to meet some remarkable donors and the
loved ones whose lives have been saved by their selfless acts of
giving. Without a donor kidney, this man's future was bleak. He had
tracked down his long-lost brother that he had not seen for 35 years.
He wanted to meet the man before it was too late. It would turn out to
be a life-saving reunion. He phoned the up out of the blue and offered
be one of his kidneys. We were speaking on the telephone and I
said to him, what about if I give you one of mine. The answer was
complete silence. It was a reunion that led father and son here hands
the story was picked up across the world. When he had his transplant
originally there were very few transplants at that time that it
happened. The gate that they give to the person who needs the
transplant, people must see the benefits that that creates an altar
doors to the person who has a successful transplant. 10 years on
and two sisters from Sheffield are preparing for the same operation.
Helen Thacker suffers from a rare genetic disorder that is destroying
In 20th March 10 I was told my kidney function was down to 20%.
They wanted to know if everybody would be able to be a living donor.
Tomorrow she's due to receive a donor kidney from Claire, her older
sister. It was hardly a decision. I knew I
was going to do it a long time ago. It just happens to have come at
this time. The operation to remove Claire's
kidney is the first of the day. She knows it could change her sister's
life but is aware it's not without risks for her. Helen faces an
anxious wait for news of how the surgery has gone.
This is a gift which I cannot describe personally in words,
Clare's altruism, her willingness to offer a kidney to her sister is
going to transform her life. Donor transplants are unique in
requiring perfectly healthy patients to undergo serious surgery
that cannot benefit them. It will be 20 minutes before the
anaesthetic takes affect, and then it will be up to four hours to
remove the Khedive. Meanwhile, Helen has a very anxious wait. --
removed the kidney. It's now Helen's turn to be wheeled
to the operating theatre. And she hears the news she's been waiting
for. I have had the news that she is out
and everything has gone well. I'm relieved about that. I just want to
get to the theatre and get it all done.
As Helen is being prepared for surgery, the organ is here in this
box. In 2001, David had to leave his
that family and friends in Australia and fly to England to
give his life-saving gift. Everyone is praying he comes back
safe and well. Everybody, give Dave a round of applause.
With as much to lose as his son had to gain, the day of the operation
arrived. I was scared. I'm pretty sure he
was. We held hands. He was in his bed and I was in mind. I just said
a few words to him of encouragement, and Mark squeezed my hand, and for
me, that was it, that was the moment. And we had not done it yet.
What would life have been like without the transplant? I think I
would not have had a life. It was going downhill that fast. On the
10th anniversary of the transplant, Mike and -- Mark has a normal life.
He can see his daughter grow up, which is something... I did not
know I had a granddaughter when I did this.
It was a life saving gift. I'm just grateful that my dad was there at
the time. I never dreamed of a day when I
would be called Dad because of a kidney.
Back at Northern General Hospital, Helen's transplant is well under
way. An opening is made in her side, into which the kidney will be
inserted. The organ is taken out of its protective wrapping and
prepared for transplantation. The blood vessels which once supplied
Claire's kidney are prepared to make the organ work inside her
sister. Less than one. Are -- 1.5 hours
after the initial surgery, the doctors are almost finished. The
delicate job of stitching the tiny vessels into place to connect the
kidney is a painstaking process. The renal artery, vein and
connection to the bladder must all be secured before it can function.
Finally, the moment Claire's kidney becomes part of her sister's
anatomy. The change of colour shows it is successfully plumbed into
Helen's abdomen. We can see the colour is now read.
I do not expect the kidney to work straight away. It will take a
little while. With the kidney successfully
connected, it's time to stitch Helen's side up, having closed the
deep wound. I think it took three hours, which
is good. I am pleased. In transplantation, you can tell the
difference. The patient has not been feeling well before the
transplantation. After transplantation, they are a
different person. But Helen is one of the fortunate
few. Most transplant organs are made available because of untimely
deaths. If you ask people in the street in
the UK, about 90% of people would support organ donation and
transportation, but only about a third are signed up and on the
register. If Mark or Helen wonder about how
long their kidneys could last, they could do worse than come here for
inspiration. This is the home of a woman who received her kidney
nearly 36 years ago. Jennifer Oxby was five months
pregnant with her second child when she suffered a double kidney
failure. She lost her baby, but after years of dialysis her brother
David offered her a kidney. She went on to have three daughters
after the operation. It's believed hers is the longest surviving
transplant kidney in the UK. So, all these years later, how do
you feel about what your brother did? Without his beard, I would not
be here and have my three daughters. -- his gift.
It is marvellous what he has done for us.
It's 12 days on from Helen's transplant, and she and her sister
Claire are recovering from their surgery.
Even if it had not worked, I would be happy we had tried. But for it
to work is just the best thing. That is what you do it for. I think
she has been very selfless, and I don't know whether I could have
done it. I am sure I would have done in the circumstances. I like
to think I would have done that. I don't know how to say thank you,
really, I just hope that you know. To add your name to the register,
Back in 1992, if you went to see a Shakespeare play, you expected all
the actors to speak in a very particular way. But 20 years ago
all that changed when Barrie Rutter set out to shake things up with a
new theatre company which spoke the Bard's words with a northern accent.
Lucy Hester has been to meet the man who created Northern Broadsides.
Now is the winter of our discontent, made glorious summer by this son of
York. And all the clouds that lowered upon our House in the deep
bosom of the ocean buried. Now are our brows bound with victorious
wreath, our bruised arms hung up for monuments. Our stern alarums
turned to merry meetings, our desperate marches to delightful
measures. I think I'd been scared of
Shakespeare as a construct for posh people who wear tights and have a
cabbage down their front and speak with a lisp. "My lord, my liege,"
etc. I didn't imagine for a second that Shakespeare was for people
like me, who talked a bit like this. What was great was he said, "Let's
approach it like work. My dad was a trawlerman, your dad was a
foundryman. Let's go to work." And that's what we did.
Barrie Rutter is the artistic director and founder of the
Northern Broadsides theatre company. Richard III was the first play ever
to be produced by Northern Broadsides, here in a boatyard in
Hull. Fellow actors thought I was mad. It
was a sort of revolutionary thing to do in 1992 - classic plays in a
non-theatrical setting with a bunch of Northern actors all genuinely
using their Northern cadences. A newspaper had printed "Mah kingdumm
for an hoss!" Of course I didn't do the line like that. It was: "A
horse, boom, boom, a horse, boom, boom, my kingdom for a horse, boom
boom!" Fast forward 20 years and Northern
Broadsides is about to embark on a five-month tour. We catch up with
Barrie again in Stoke rehearsing Shakespeare's Love's Labour's Lost.
It's a real box of fireworks, verbal fireworks and you can't hope
to get every witty conceit in it, but it's delightful to play and I
hope it's going to be delightful to Barrie is playing the part of the
schoolmaster, but he's also directing a company of 17 actors.
I play Don Adriano de Amado. To congratulate the princess in her
pavilion in the posteriors of the day which the rude multitude call
the afternoon. He is a fantastical Spaniard and he
is full of himself, but possibly not as intelligent as he things.
I'm Sophia and I play the princess. She's a bit bolshy. She's not one
of the fainting, falling in love, running after men kind of girls.
She's got an old head on her shoulders.
One thing everyone seems to be struggling with is a musical number
featuring a rather unusual instrument.
You've got to practise the bottle. If a day goes by without you
practising the bottle or plucking a string, it's too long, it's too
Everybody who's not playing a main instrument has a bottle that's
filled up to a point, and when you blow in it, it doesn't workWhen you
blow in it, it makes a certain note. When it's fine-tuned, it'll sound
And there's a bit of extra pressure today as the rehearsal will be
watched by a small audience. We always had a day when we invite
our friends to come and observed. It doesn't matter what state we are
in. In fact, the less polished the better. This afternoon, we will see
the beach events before this messenger comes in with the news.
Messenger? For those of you who've never seen Love's Labour's
Lost,here's what's happens. Turn the sound down if you don't want to
know how it ends. Me and Adam, who plays Costard,
have a bit of a set-to. We have a fight that turns into a Morris
dance - as all good fights do. I bet you didn't know that happened
in Shakespeare, did you? They've got me dancing, fighting with
sticks, throwing knives - all sorts of stuff.
So where does the messenger fit into all this merriment?
There's a famous interruption near the end of the play where the
princess gets the news of her dad's death and they all say, "But we're
in love with you" And that's the "lost" of the title.
Northern Broadsides has worked with many actors over the years. But one
in particular launched his career in a very different direction after
playing a famous Shakespearean lead. Comedian Lenny Henry surprised
everyone back in 2009 when he took the role of Othello for Northern
Broadsides. Othello launched my career as a
serious actor. It was fantastic because for the first time people
saw me in a different light. I love being a comedian because it's my
job, but I love movies and drama. I'm always the one crying and
saying "I'm really moved." And I wanted a chance to move people.
Barrie gave me that chance and I'll always be grateful for that.
What was it like to work with Barrie?
Barrie is very hands-on. He'll stop you and move your hands and push
your bum in. Suddenly you're standing taller and he says, "Stop
crying! Stop shuffling!" He directs It's now the day before opening
night in Stoke and everyone's busy getting ready for the dress
rehearsal. This is the last chance to put
things right. If you haven't learnt it by now, it's your own stupid
fault, really. I'm feeling surprisingly calm. For
a couple of weeks I've been pretending to be a glamorous
princess, but now the hair and make-up team have swooped in and
made me into one. There's a general sense of But I
want the actors to be comfortable, know what they're doing. And
through the next 36 hours you get the inspiration of an audience and
the extra sparkle and twinkle that The moment when everything comes
together it's like, "Ahh, it's landed." It's quite delightful when
that happens, whether you're doing Othello or whether you're doing
this play. The fact that Northern Broadsides
allows people from all parts of the country to participate meant that
my resistance was broken down. They're part of the landscape now
and we're to be thankful to them because they've opened the door to
people who don't necessarily speak with a Received Pronunciation
accent. And Love's Labours Lost will soon
be on tour, returning to perform here in Halifax, its spiritual home,
They've come a long way since that first performance of Richard III
back in 1992. It was not all plain sailing. There
were problems and cynicism. But the Arts one out in the end, as they
should. Our strong arms be our conscience,
swords our law! March on, join bravely. Let us to it, Pellmell. If
not to heaven, then hand in hand to hell!" If you want to contact us
about any of tonight's stories, you can do so through Facebook or
Twitter. That is all from Halifax, but make
sure you join us for next week's programme.
Jamie Coulson follows the Border Agency as they burst into two weddings in an attempt to thwart sham marriages by illegal immigrants looking for UK visas. Also, ten years on, Keeley Donovan catches up with a man whose estranged father, living on the other side of the world, saved his life by donating a kidney. And Lucy Hester experiences the joy of Shakespeare with a northern accent.