'Harrowing' celebrity prison reality series Banged Up won't return to Channel 4

Stars Sid Owen joined HRVY and Johnny Mercer for the prison reality series

Pictured: Sid Owen - Banged Up. (Channel 4)
Sid Owen pictured taking part in prison reality series Banged Up. (Channel 4)

Channel 4's celebrity prison reality series Banged Up will not return for a second series.

Among those taking part - Sid Owen broke down during his "harrowing" prison show experience, telling Yahoo: "Being locked in, I broke down quite a few times. Hearing people’s stories, you do emphasise with them a bit because people have no choice where they come from."

The EastEnders actor filmed behind bars alongside former Strictly 2020 contestant HRVY, Gogglebox’s Marcus Luther, Friday Night Dinner’s Tom Rosenthal and Tory MP Johnny Mercer. Neil Parish, who quit politics after he was caught watching tractor porn in parliament, also took part in the reality series. The Mail On Sunday columnist Peter Hitchens also signed up to do his time behind bars on Banged Up.

HRVY was considered the
HRVY was considered the 'pretty boy' in the prison. (Channel 4)

After filming the show, celebrities revealed the hardest things about prison life including: lack of freedom, the other inmates, food and missing out on time with loved ones at home.

At the time of release there had been a buzz around the show and there were reports of talent options for a possible recommission. Plus there was talk of an all-women series set in a female prison in a similar social experiment. However, it was ultimately decided the show would not return to the small screen.

A source told The Sun: "Producers were shocked by Channel 4’s decision to axe the show. They were aiming high in trying to get people like Farage on board, and had some good names lined up. Pundits raved about the show and it was loved by viewers, so it seems a strange decision to get rid of it. It must purely be for financial reasons."

A Channel 4 spokesperson told Yahoo: "Banged Up was a unique one-off social experiment that was only ever commissioned for one series."

Last year, Strictly's HRVY reacted to the "pretty boy rape" threats he received during the TV prison show Banged Up from real-life ex-inmates. He told Yahoo at the time: "When I first heard it, again I was like: 'Good one.'

"But I was speaking to a lot of them (the former prisoners) and they were like, 'This really happens. If you were in a real prison you would have been taken advantage of already, in the first two nights. One million percent.' They said, 'You’re lucky that you are just getting a threat. But imagine how you feel now with the threat. Now imagine that and then actually something happening.' This is real."

Tom Rosenthal entering the prison for the first time (Channel 4)
Tom Rosenthal entering the prison for the first time. (Channel 4)

Also EastEnders actor Owen had reflected on what he had learned from taking part in the prison TV show. "Stay out of trouble and keep doing what I’m doing," he told Yahoo.

"It’s not a nice experience and I don't wish it on anyone. It does boil down to where people grow up and where they come from and some people don't have a choice. Some people get involved from a young age and you know, the wrong things. So, it's just being strong minded yourself and staying out of trouble."

Pictured: L-R Tom Rosenthal, Sid Owen, Marcus Luther - Banged Up. (Channel 4)
Tom Rosenthal, Sid Owen, Marcus Luther pictured on Banged Up. (Channel 4)

In real life, Owen's dad and brothers spent time behind bars and the reality TV series gave him some insight into what they had experienced. He told us at the time: "It certainly puts you off, gave me a bit of an insight into what it’s like."

He added: "It was as real as it could be without being beat up or attacked. It was pretty harrowing. It was all the noise and it does affect you after a while. It wasn’t the easiest or best experience but it was certainly an experience."