Paying your debts the easy way

Click to follow
The Independent Culture
Frank is a convicted felon, who used his resourcefulness and cunning to plan an £18m robbery. Despite his three-year prison sentence, he has shown no remorse, and indeed tries to deny that he is a criminal at all. Why, then, will the country's middle-classes sympathise with Frank when he attempts to justify himself on television tonight?

The reason, of course, is that Frank is one of their own. He stole not from the Barclays on the high street, but from the Inland Revenue, during his time as a director of Nissan UK. And now he is a resident at Ford Open Prison, the subject of tonight's Modern Times (9pm BBC2), supposedly paying the price.

It is clearly one which he feels is worth the reward. Other inmates, filmed over a three-month period, are suffering a lot more - broken marriages, bankruptcy, their children growing up without them. The tabloid news editors, however, who insist that Ford is more like a holiday camp than a prison, will find little to dissuade them.

The most interesting discovery is the prison's class system. If you thought the business fraudsters were forced to rub shoulders with petty thiefs, think again. The nobs are in A-wing, the working classes in B, and they all look after their own. Frank will no doubt emerge after what amounts to an unplanned return to school with as little idea of how most people live their lives as he had on his first day inside.

Comments