Big Issue Vendor

Radio series about the lives of homeless duo Tara and George wins BPG Award

Journalist Audrey Gillan's caring and compassionate radio series wins big alongside Killing Eve, Patrick Melrose and Derry Girls

A six-part series documenting the lives of two rough sleepers has won Radio Programme of the Year at the 2019 Broadcasting Press Guild Awards.

In Tara and George, which aired on Radio 4 in August 2018 but is still available online and to download as a podcast, journalist Audrey Gillan carefully teased out the complex pasts and precarious presents of rough sleepers Tara and George with compassion and care.

Gillan talked to Tara and George over the course of almost two years in and around London’s Spitalfields, where they were a mainstay of the community, often to be found on the doorstep of another famous duo, artists Gilbert and George (shown, with Tara and George, above).

Tara McKerr and George Crompton found strength and solidarity together after meeting at a Crisis at Christmas dinner. The pair, both in their late 40s, became inseparable and over the course of six episodes, listeners learned about their troubled childhoods, family breakdowns, mental health and addiction issues, with Gillan also tracking down members of their wider family.

The result was compelling, a rare gem of a radio series looking at love and devotion, as well as the everyday realities of life for two people who found companionship on the margins of society.


The Big Issue magazine is a social enterprise, a business that reinvests its profits in helping others who are homeless, at risk of homelessness, or whose lives are blighted by poverty.

Other big winners at the 45th annual BPG Awards, sponsored by Virgin Media, were global TV smash Killing Eve, which picked up the Best Drama Series award and for which Jodie Comer won a deserved Best Actress award for her astonishing performance.

A Very English Scandal, which told the story of Liberal Party leader Jeremy Thorpe’s affair with and subsequent incitement to murder Norman Scott was named Best Single Drama/Mini Series – with Hugh Grant named Best Actor and Russell T Davies Best Writer.

Derry Girls was named Best Comedy, Bob Mortimer and Paul Whitehouse collected the Best Entertainment Series award for Mortimer and Whitehouse: Gone Fishing.

Stephen: The Murder That Changed A Nation won Best Documentary Series, BBC1’s Grenfell was named Best Single Documentary, Benedict Cumberbatch’s Patrick Melrose was the Best of Multichannel winner, and 6Music’s Morning Show host Lauren Laverne was named Radio Broadcaster of the Year.

Download or listen to Tara and George here

Image: Gilbert & George/White Cube