Friday, 10 April 2009

Hit the North

Still from The North South Divide, BBC Four, April 2009

In a society where the service sector makes up the vast majority of employment and GDP, what does it mean to be from a post-industrial city? What can regeneration offer a place without taking away what is unique?

These questions are at the core of John Harris's The North-South Divide, which aired on BBC Four last night. The documentary looks at the ever-present gap - from house prices to education standards to life expectancy - between England's North and South. Harris visits towns like Hull, ravaged by the decline of their traditional industries and seeking new roads to prosperity, and towns like Cambourne, established purely to house commuting service sector and "knowledge economy" workers.

The travelogue provides telling glimpses of some typical English landscapes; from quaint villages to empty ports and collapsing warehouses, to the ubiquitous retail parks on the edges of towns.

The North-South Divide is available on the BBC iPlayer until Thursday 16th April.

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