I sat down last night to watch Channel 4’s “The Secret Millionaire” fully expecting a decent enough programme; millionaire complains at dirty digs, meets a few people, gives them cheques and then saunters back to his/her mansion and forgets about the people he has just spent the last week or so with. Series 1 DVD
Do not fear; we had all of that so at least we know the format will remain the same. What I didn’t expect was to go on an emotional rollercoaster to Blackpool and back with the millionaire. Most of the millionaires we have met in the series have been suit wearing, Ferrari driving financial types who show little or no emotion (maybe that’s why they have the money and I don’t!). There have been a couple who have been genuinely moved by the experience but they (to me at least) are few and far between.
Last night, Gary Eastwood (who set up his £20m business thanks to a £100 loan from his grandfather) visited Blackpool and we were treated to a town in despair, dilapidated buildings, the peer that has obviously seen better days and run down housing estates rife with drug and alcohol problems. It’s very sad to see how Blackpool, once the mecca of weekend holidays and stagdoos, has fallen into such a state. That said; I’m sure the film company didn’t show the best side of Blackpool to intensify the downbeat atmosphere.
He comes across as a down to earth guy, not one of these suits who couldn’t or wouldn’t give you the time of day. He is obviously affected by what he sees and who he meets and the emotions transfer from screen to living room effortlessly. He had a big impact on me last night and I for one thought it was the best show they had aired.
It didn’t quite move me to tears but I did get emotional! The lump in my throat manifested itself and tears were doing their best to leave the ocular region but I managed to hold it together even when he said goodbye to Jim, the World War 2 vet who was so proud to have served his country.
According to Jim, the UK has failed the war veterans and are the worst country to offer support for soldiers who have given everything to ensure our freedom. Even countries that lost against the Allies have better care in place for their vets – something has to be done to improve this.
I’m not going to go in too much detail in case some of the readers haven’t watched it yet. All I can say is please watch it; if you watch one episode from the series let it be this one.
The screen falls to black and the silence greets two “in memory” moments. Two of the characters we meet along the way lose their battle with life. Very very sad.
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