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Loneliness

Jenny Kleeman explores places at the extremes of UK society, uncovering the stories behind a revealing statistic.

Brighton has the most internet searches for the word lonely. Plymouth is top for debt problems. Aldershot has the most Buddhists. Jenny Kleeman explores locations at the extremes of UK society, uncovering the stories behind a revealing statistic.

The Office for National Statistics gathers data on everything - the economy, employment, even our wellbeing. We have more data available than ever before, including from search engines, and increasingly the government and big businesses are making crucial judgments based on these statistics. But these numbers can't tell us everything. In this series, Jenny explores the true stories behind the figures.

Episode 1: Loneliness
Why does Brighton have the highest rate of internet searches for the word lonely? Jenny starts her investigation by meeting 87-year-old widow Pat O'Byrne whose post on Facebook last year went viral. Her plea for someone to take her out for a Sunday roast dinner attracted responses from as far afield as Japan and Canada. But could Brighton's history of internet searches reveal an isolation epidemic in the city that's hidden from view?

A Somethin' Else production for BBC Radio 4.

Available now

14 minutes

Last on

Wed 13 Mar 2019 09:30