By LIFTED Podcast host and producer, Holly Kirkpatrick

Daring to explore the complex.

Tara and George are rough sleepers. They can often be found sat on the same doorstep in the fashionable area of Spitalfields, London, UK. Journalist Audrey Gillan, who lives nearby, would often pass them. One day she decided to start recording her conversations with the pair and this continued for almost two years. The resulting recordings have been distilled to create a radio show and podcast which asks the over-arching questions: What led to Tara and George living on the streets, and why are they still there? 

The answers, as you would expect, are complex. So complex that they are rarely explored in depth in mainstream media further than a report filled with numbers. And probably because we already know that the answers to these questions are tangled up in a knot of issues, systems, and policies – and all the gnarly truths of modern society. It’s messy and intimidating and difficult to mold into an understandable structure. But through the stories of Tara and George, this podcast dares to pick at the knot. The result is six episodes of nuanced storytelling that amplifies Tara and George’s experiences.

Even Tara and George’s relationship can’t be neatly packaged and labelled: they appear to be a couple, but both tell Gillan that they do not have a sexual relationship. As the show’s website states, “Each provides for the other an anchor, something to hold onto…But Tara and George have their own individual stories that deserve to be heard.” The telling of these individual stories takes Gillan to different parts of the UK to speak with some of George’s family members. It also takes her to the various people and organizations in her own community who are somehow connected with the pair. In the quest to find answers, there are times where Gillan questions her own involvement in Tara and George’s lives: all further demonstration of the complexities of telling their stories. Nevertheless, they are stories that should to be heard, and this show gives them a platform.  

Tara and George is a Falling Tree Production for BBC Radio 4

Listen directly here, or via Radio Public, below: