Banged Up on Channel 4

Channel 4 viewers need to ‘bleach their eyes’ after watching documentary Banged Up

'Quite a first episode of #BangedUp!'

Channel 4 viewers have hailed Banged Up as “one of the best documentaries this year”, but some needed to “bleach their eyes” after watching the first episode!

In the new four-part reality show – which started on Tuesday, October 31, 2023 – seven celebrities got a taste of life in prison. They were locked up with real life ex-cons for the series, which has reportedly already been commissioned for an all-female second run before the first has even aired.

Sid Owen and six others live in the decommissioned Victorian jail, HMP Shrewsbury, for one week. The famous faces also included Conservative MP Johnny Mercer, comedian and actor Tom Rosenthal, Gogglebox star Marcus Luther, singer HRVY, newspaper columnist Peter Hitchens and former MP Neil Parish. Yep, Neil is the one whose career imploded after he was caught watching porn in the Commons chamber…

Sid Owen and his castmates in Banged Up for Channel 4
Sid Owen and his celeb cellmates in Banged Up (Credit: Channel 4)

What happened in the first episode of Banged Up on Channel 4?

The first episode saw Sid Owen, aka Rickaaaaaaay in EastEnders, attempt to escape the prison after looking genuinely terrified during the experience.

Loyal ED! readers will already know that Sid’s own father and brother have spent time in prison, so he had his own very personal reasons for taking part.

Elsewhere, Gogglebox star Marcus Luther raised eyebrows with his “naive” approach to the challenge. But it was Johnny Mercer’s behaviour that really seemed to surprise (and repulse) viewers.

John Mercer is a British politician and former British Army officer. He has served as Minister of State for Veterans’ Affairs since October 2022. During episode 1, he seemed to be permanently sucking a vape, and liberally dropped the F-bomb into every other sentence.

But there was one particular scene which left viewers gagging into their Earl Grey. Within minutes, the MP was seen smoking contraband tobacco that had been up someone’s bum!

Well, when in Rome… Or HMP Shrewsbury!

‘I need to bleach my eyes’ after watching Banged Up

Channel 4 viewers couldn’t believe what they were seeing, especially when they got an eyeful of Johnny Mercer’s not-so-private-parts-anymore.

One said: “Noooooo I’ve just seen @JohnnyMercerUK’s arse, I need to bleach my eyes #BangedUp.”

Another said: “Think I just saw a bit of Johnny Mercer’s ball bag on telly. No one needs that.”

A third added: “Fair play to @JohnnyMercerUK in #BangedUp @Channel4 – that was a great watch. The prison system is definitely not working, hopefully this experience will help him make change.”

“Watching #BangedUp and my god the way Johnny Mercer talks to people, surprised he’s not got sparked out yet,” said another, while one more added: “Johnny Mercer would have already been on the vulnerable prisoners wing by now the arrogant [bleep].”

Johnny Mercer on Banged Up
Johnny Mercer made quite the impression in Banged Up (Credit: Channel 4)

Fans claim Banged Up on Channel 4 is ‘incredibly insightful’

The show had plenty of fans, as well as some haters, but it certainly got viewers talking.

One viewer exclaimed: “Banged Up is one of the best documentaries I’ve seen this year, incredibly insightful.”

Another added: “Okay, wow, I may have judged this too soon… The guy just shouting at Mercer is fantastic. And is saying it exactly as it is. Maybe Channel 4 haven’t avoided realism to make a good ‘reality show’.”

A third simply said: “Why is #BangedUp actually watchable?”

“Sid Owen tried to do a runner, Marcus Luther refused to ‘G-check’ him while Tory MP Johnny Mercer smashed windows, watched a man take a cigarette from his backside and was given a decent lecture on the benefits of a rehabilitative prison system. Quite a first episode of #BangedUp,” said another.

Another summed it up by saying: “That Banged Up documentary is a class watch.”

Of course, there were some who claimed it was “rubbish”.

One said: “What a load of rubbish! It’s not real, so why make up a show for actors to play cons? All you will do is glamourise prison. But this isn’t prison! Go to a real one, then you will see.”

Another added: “I managed 30 mins of #BangedUp on Channel 4. Ex-prisoners acting, in a decommissioned prison, staffed by former prison staff and ‘celebs’. Poor, utterly pointless immersive ‘theatre’.”

A third said: “Watched 15 mins of this #Bangedup on Channel 4 and turning it off. I’ve been twice sadly and it’s nothing like this I can assure you.”

Read more: Stephen Graham signs up for Celebrity Gogglebox with his famous wife as fans hail ‘best news ever’

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Banged Up continues on Tuesday, November 7, 2023 at 9.15pm on Channel 4.

What did you think of Banged Up episode 1? Leave us a comment on our Facebook page @EntertainmentDailyFix.

Helen Fear
TV Editor

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