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A Bit of a Stretch - The Podcast Cover
A Bit of a Stretch - The Podcast Profile

A Bit of a Stretch - The Podcast

English, Documentary, 2 seasons, 15 episodes, 5 hours, 49 minutes
Have you every wondered what life is really like behind bars? Chris Atkins is a documentary maker who went to prison for tax fraud in 2016. He spent nine months in HMP Wandsworth, one of the most dangerous and dysfunctional prisons in the UK, and has now interviewed 20 ex-prisoners about their time in jail. Their stories are shocking, uplifting, heartbreaking, hilarious, and often downright weird. These incredible testimonies form this eight part podcast series. In Wandsworth Chris got loads of letters peppered with questions - What's the food like? What do you wear? Tell me about the showers... This podcast answers all those questions, and takes you headfirst into the biggest prison crisis in history. It reveals a collapsing system that is failing victims and wider society, and reveals how the human spirit can thrive in the darkest corners. Each episode is centred around a different theme, like Arrival, Family and Change. 4 Stars in The Times: A frisson of horrified sympathy. "Good grief,” you think. “What if that were me?”. Chris Atkins is a three time BAFTA nominated film maker, who has worked for Channel 4 Dispatches and BBC Panorama. His book about his time in Wandsworth, A Bit of a Stretch, is out now.
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London Bridge

Marc Conway was an extremely disturbed and dangerous criminal for many years. He grew up on a crime ridden estate in the 80s, and by his teens he was a prolific armed robber. He served ten prison sentences, which only made him more violent and accelerated his offending. In his twenties he was convicted of a horrific home invasion and was given an IPP sentence. This could have meant he was locked up forever, so he went to a highly unusual therapeutic prison called HMP Grendon that houses the very worst offenders in the system. Marc underwent a remarkable transformation, and ended up being one of the posse of heroes who tackled terrorist Usman Khan during the London Bridge terror attacks in 2019. Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
9/22/202333 minutes, 6 seconds
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I Met My Brother's Killer

Simon Dawson was brutally murdered by two car thieves in 1998. It shattered the life of his twin brother Nick, who's likeness enabled the police to catch the killers. Nearly twenty Years later Nick was given the chance to meet one of the men responsible as part of a programme of restorative justice. Nick finally confronted the perpetrator but he did get the answers he needed? And what's it like coming face to face to face with the person that destroyed your family? Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
9/12/202332 minutes, 45 seconds
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Prison Break

Meet Simon Maclellan, who escaped from a high security jail pretending to be his twin brother in 2009. For the very first time Simon explains how he managed to fool dozens of prison officers, several court staff and even a judge, and why his daring escape completely humiliated the authorities. Since then Simon has cycled through the prison system over and over again, having been convicted of over 70 offences. These are mostly low level crimes, like shoplifting and drugs, which he believes are caused by never having anywhere to live when he's released from jail. The episode looks at the link between homelessness and crime, and how this is one of the major drivers of reoffending.You can read more about Simon and the other characters in this podcast in my new book, Time After Time, which is published on the 7th September Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
8/31/202320 minutes, 11 seconds
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Total Recall

Ed Cooley was convicted of drugs and firearms offences in 2014 and given ten years and eight months. Like most prisoners he was released on license halfway through, but he's since been recalled back to jail four times despite not being convicted of any new crimes. Chris and Ed's girlfriend Jess drove up to meet Ed when he was released from one of these recalls, and drive down to London to hit the recording studio where Ed laid down some of the songs he wrote in his cell. Despite wanting to go straight it's not long before Ed is recalled back to prison on spurious grounds. To hear more of Ed's music you can follow him on instagram @sgm_eviljwet. Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
8/24/202320 minutes, 45 seconds
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The Fake Duke

In 2015 Alexander Wood made the national news for being convicted of fraud, after staying in over thirty elite hotels masquerading as the Duke of Marlborough. Chris Atkins met Alex in HMP Wandsworth, and they recently met up outside Claridge's in Mayfair where Alex revealed how he managed to con so many hotels. Alex is very long way from the stereotypical criminal, as he grew up in extreme as he was privilege as a child prodigy on the violin. In his teens he was performing for Royalty, touring the world with the very best orchestras and even played on a Harry Potter soundtrack. So how did a genius violist turn into an arch conman? And why did Alex's offending spiral after his conviction, so that he ended up perpetrating a £50 million banking fraud and ruining dozens of lives? Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
8/24/202320 minutes, 4 seconds