Tears, tantrums, touchy subjects...and togetherness.
A Preston street is to hit the small screen tonight to give an insight into how neighbours coped when their council services were cut for six weeks.
The Street That Cut Everything follows the trials and tribulations of 52 residents in Beacon Avenue, Fulwood, who discover what life would be like if Preston Council suddenly didn’t exist anymore.
The first episode, to be aired on BBC1 tonight and seen by the Evening Post, sees the mix of manual workers, middle managers, public sector staff, private businessmen, pensioners and single parents work together in a bid to keep life ticking over.
Some had never even spoken to their neighbours before and were thrown together for their first meeting, held at Queen’s Drive Primary School, Black Bull Lane.
The programme follows the neighbours rallying round, but also unravelling, as they tried to deal with problems including fly tipped fridges, a street full of dog mess and vandals.
They squabbled over whether or not to have a committee, how best to clean up graffiti and who deserved cash out of their pooled council tax rebate of £1,058, for the likes of school meals, housing benefits and respite care.
Ahead of tonight’s show, the residents descended on the house of John Rayner, who owns West Lancashire Caravans in Garstang, and wife Sonia for a special preview screening.
John said: “There were a few mixed feelings about it. It was interesting.
“I think it’s not portrayed us in the best of light.”
Janette St Jean, head of drama at Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School, Blackburn, was shown in conflict with Maria Haggis, who runs a children’s nursery and has lived on Beacon Avenue for 17 years.
And independent single mother-of-two Tracie Lambert, who recently battled cancer, was shown in tears after disputes with her neighbours.
But it also shows how community spirit finally shone through, with one kind-hearted neighbour doing an elderly woman’s ironing.
Other residents featured included Pam Picken, 76, who had lived there since 1967, care workers Lilly Richards, Katrina Murphy and trainee nurse Jess Westney, Tina and Chris Milner and their daughter Kara, Janette’s partner Seretse Graphine, a manager for a supermarket supplier, Mick Duffy and Seeta Kaur.
Coun Ken Hudson paid the residents a visit after they invited him to Beacon Avenue following his comments in a story about the programme in the Evening Post.
Mrs Milner was less than impressed by Coun Hudson’s comments: “It might show the residents of Preston in a really good light...but it might have been better in Weston-Super-Mare.”
The Street That Cut Everything, presented by BBC Political Editor Nick Robinson, is on BBC One tonight at 9pm and 10.35pm.