Fears over Blyth Lifeboat future after TV documentary

A DOCUMENTARY on a North East lifeboat crew has been criticised by those who took part.

Barry Elliott of Blyth All-Weather Lifeboat
Barry Elliott of Blyth All-Weather Lifeboat

A DOCUMENTARY on a North East lifeboat crew has been criticised by those who took part.

Channel Four has been accused of threatening the future of lifesavers with the fly-on-the-wall documentary.

Geordies Overboard, which is broadcast tonight, is said to follow the lives of the crew of Blyth All-Weather Lifeboat.

But the documentary, filmed between May and December, sparked fury from crew members and chairman Barry Elliott who insisted it was edited to focus on negative aspects.

And the lifeboat’s chief engineer and coxswain Keri Merilo, 60, now fears for the future of the organisation.

“I am expecting a call from the coastguard to close us down. It has put us over as a liability, it’s so unreal it’s unbelievable.

“To be honest the show was a disgrace. They really stitched us up.”

Under the synopsis of the show Channel Four states: “This documentary series follows it through a stormy six months on land and at sea, taking a warm-hearted look at a tight-knit community bound together by a shared devotion to their lifeboat and a determination to keep it afloat.”

But in last week’s episode, the first of the two-part series, it showed serious feuds between chairman Mr Elliott, who owns the boat, and the crew. Subtitles were also used to clarify what was said, and one of the crew’s rescues was dubbed a “disaster”. But the crew maintain this was a one-off and insist the documentary makers neglected to show successful rescues. Geordies Overboard is on tonight on Channel Four at 11.10.


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