Documentary Director


BBC 4 The Year The Town Hall Shrank Dir James Newton Blast Films. Landmark documentary series which tells the story of how one city -Stoke on Trent cope with the impact of the largest funding cuts ever imposed. 

The Year The Town Hall Shrank

BBC 4 Filmed & Directed
Blast Films, 2012
Series Director: Dave Nath
Editer Rupert Houseman
3 x 60 min 

Winner of The Grierson Trust Best Documentary Series 2013
 Nominated Best Documentary Series Royal Television Society Awards 2013

I emerged not only entirely engaged with the subject but hopping mad at the cynical vote-catching that James Newton’s exemplary documentary expertly exposed as his cameras prowled the corridors of Stoke-on-Trent City Council.
— Keith Watson, Metro.
Between interviews with teary campaigners, squirming politicians and barnstorming speeches at high-drama council meetings, the documentary takes a surprisingly arty tone. It appears to be shot as if it’s the Seventies with a gritty grey lens and a soul soundtrack, over shots of kids on bikes and old factories and ladies getting their hair set.
— The Independent

This three part landmark documentary series tells the story of how one city - Stoke on Trent - struggles to cope with the impact of the largest funding cuts to local government ever imposed by central government.

The depth of the cuts force not just the Council to reconsider what they do and how they do it but the people of Stoke to ask themselves what they expect their Local Authority to do for them. Wittily and stylishly made by Dave Nath and James Newton, this is not just the story of Stoke, it is the story of us all as we go behind the rhetoric of whether we are all in it together in our age of austerity. Or whether it is right to take tough choices because we have become over dependent on services that we can simply no longer afford. 

With in-depth access to the council and its decision makers and following the human consequences of decisions taken in the town hall and Whitehall, this is a gripping and moving tale of power, competing priorities and the intimate human costs of cuts recorded over the course of a year.

Brave yet focused, insightful and skilful – and that is no mean feat given its subject matter
— Chair of the judging jury, Pamela Gordon, The Grierson Trust