Solihull party girl moves in with pensioner for Channel 4 TV experiment Lodgers for Codgers   - The Solihull Observer

Solihull party girl moves in with pensioner for Channel 4 TV experiment Lodgers for Codgers  

Solihull Editorial 2nd Sep, 2020 Updated: 3rd Sep, 2020   0

On Friday viewers across the country will be tuning in to see Silhillian Sophie Donald on Channel 4’s new TV show Lodgers for Codgers.  

The Channel 4 programme sees pensioners who live alone, paired with young people who are struggling to get onto the property ladder.

The chances of young people owning their own home have halved over the past 20 years. Meanwhile, 3.5million pensioners live alone.

The heartwarming six-part series was filmed before ­lockdown and poses the question – could young and old cohabiting ease the country’s housing crisis?  

On the second episode of the series Sophie, 21, a fashion student from Dove House Parade in Solihull moves in with no nonsense, devout Christian Eunice Mcghie-Belgrave, 85, who lives in Birmingham.

After a slightly rocky start they get on like a house on fire – don’t worry Sophie doesn’t set Eunice’s house on fire, but there are a few sparks that needed extinguishing when Sophie – who likes a “glass of wine or three” – is made to stick to Eunice’s strict rules.

Eunice, a great-grandmother who moved to the UK from Jamaica in 1957, sets the scene when she says: “Anyone who comes to stay with me should not expect an easy life… I am very strict in whatever I say and do, because that is the way I was brought up at home.”

Sophie, a former Langley School pupil told our reporter: “She had a long list of house rules including no drinking, no smoking, no swearing, no loud music and keeping your room tidy.”

She continued: “When I first arrived, I think she thought I was a hooligan or something. I broke the majority of her rules quite quickly.

“I’m the sort of girl who loves to let my hair down and have fun. I love having drinks with friends at the Slug and Lettuce. That is my life. I didn’t know how I was going to cope being stuck away and with all these strict rules. Eunice and I are totally chalk and cheese.” 

In the show, Sophie, who usually lives with her parents, came up with a plan to bend Eunice’s rules.

She says: “I needed some space, so I called my dad and said, ‘Let’s go out for a drink’ because Eunice said no drinking in the house… you’ve got to be sneaky.

“When I got back to the house, I was really loud playing music, dancing and stuff. She was not happy, ­telling me to be quiet.”

However, after a “disco nap” and seeing the error of her ways Sophie sobered up, and duly apologised.

She recalls: “I said, ‘I’m sorry but I wouldn’t be true to myself if I didn’t go out and get drunk, it’s part of me.’ I gave her a hug and we made up.”

Sophie continues: “We really were polar opposites and I initially told the show’s producers I didn’t want to stay with her. She was just too strict.

“But I thought about it… and thought maybe having a young person around could help her change her ways a bit, change her structure. I wanted to liven up her life.

“I even taught her some yoga and things started to change.”

It was then Sophie decided to open up to Eunice about a past mental health struggle when she was 12 years old, where she found herself in a psychiatric hospital.

“It was a very difficult period of my life. I had depression and ended up with an eating disorder. But I spoke to her as I wanted her to understand.  

“I wanted her to know that just because I’m young, it doesn’t mean I haven’t been through difficult times myself – and sometimes that can be a misconception between different generations.”

Without giving away too many spoilers, by the end of the show the pair definitely bonded. However, Eunice chose not to let Sophie move in with her on a permanent basis.

“She said I’m not allowed. It was hilarious” Sophie giggled.

“We’re staying in touch. In fact she’s coming round for Sunday lunch soon. I lost my nan in 2015 but I have inherited another one now.

“I’ll just have to hide the wine.”

Lodgers For Codgers is on Channel 4 at 8pm on Friday.





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