Exclusive: Interview with Helen Black, screenwriter of Life and Death in the Warehouse

Exclusive: Interview with Helen Black, screenwriter of Life and Death in the Warehouse. Image - Official Image/IMDB

A new factual film on BBC Three exploring working conditions in warehouses has been gaining lots of traction, the Euro Weekly News spoke exclusively with screenwriter Helen Black about why and how Life and Death in the Warehouse was made.

Life and Death in the Warehouse is a frightening and authentic look at consumerism today and how human greed has influenced the world of work and workers’ rights. Following hundreds of hours of research in which many warehouse workers were spoken to, screenwriter and author Helen Black decided to take on the film.

Exclusive: Interview with Helen Black, screenwriter of Life and Death in the Warehouse
Screenwriter and author Helen Black. Image – Helen Black

The drama, which is set in Wales, has an exciting cast including Aimee-Ffion Edwards as Megan (Peaky Blinders, The Left Behind, Luther), Poppy Lee Friar as Alys (In My Skin, Ackley Bridge, My Name Is Leon) and Craig Parkinson as Senior Manager Danny (Line Of Duty, Doctor Who, Four Lions).

The drama tells the fictional story of warehouse worker Alys, whose childhood friend Megan joins the same distribution centre as a trainee manager.

Fuelled by the ‘customer-fixated’ culture of distribution centres and in an attempt to keep her new job, Megan presses pregnant Alys to improve her work performance, putting Alys and her baby at risk.

Helen, originally from Yorkshire, said of the fictional story that is based on real-life events: “We wanted an authority over detail and the stories that make up the film.”

“Being a female myself, we chose to focus on the story of Alys and her pregnancy because that is something so normal and natural and women are being penalised for having babies in workplaces like warehouses.”

“Shopping today is a ‘got to have it’ culture, where we can order something online and receive it in the post the next day. We used to be happy with ordering items and waiting a few days for them to be delivered, now, staff in warehouses are being pushed to the brink because of this new culture.”

Exclusive: Interview with Helen Black, screenwriter of Life and Death in the Warehouse
Image – IMDB

“The drama shows how this can all come tumbling down and how there’s no ‘give’ in the system for ordinary things like maternity, even though women have fought for these rights throughout history.”

“We also wanted to show that Alys and Megan are from the same background, they lived on the same street as children, and yet these two ordinary women end up in opposition – both desperately trying to keep their jobs,” Helen added.

Every aspect of the drama is based on real stories, from distribution centres not allowing workers to take essential breaks, workers becoming overwhelmed and coping by taking stimulants, managers fixated on targets, zero-hour contracts, fear of union activity and playing staff off against each other.

From the Bafta-winning team behind Killed By My Debt and Murdered by My Father, this jaw-dropping real-life drama is available to stream on BBC iPlayer now.

Watch the trailer:


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Written by

Laura Kemp

Originally from UK, Laura is based in Axarquia and is a writer for the Euro Weekly News covering news and features. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]

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