Baffled and gripped: how social workers reacted to Channel 4’s social work drama

There were mixed thoughts about the portrayal of social work in last night's drama

Sarah Lancashire plays social worker Miriam in Channel 4 drama Kiri. Picture: Channel 4

Kiri, a drama about a social worker at the centre of a transracial adoption and the aftermath of a child abduction case, aired on Channel 4 last night.

As always, this prompted a fierce reaction among social workers, with many decrying the depiction of the profession, while others approached it from the view that it was a drama, and a gripping one at that.

Here are what social workers think of Kiri.

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12 Responses to Baffled and gripped: how social workers reacted to Channel 4’s social work drama

  1. Lizzie January 11, 2018 at 9:37 am #

    Iam a NQSW, I loved the first episode, its very dark and gritty, theres alot of speculation! But guys it’s only the first episode! Give the story chance to unfold! Geez! The woman’s house maybe her sister/friend not a service user, she may have issues around mental/physical health hence the dog, she may have issues around alcohol n be hiding it! Lets all chill and tune in next week! After all you wouldnt complete a single assessment after one visit!

  2. Sharon Shoesmith January 11, 2018 at 10:52 am #

    I think we need to look past the elements of drama and focus on the very accurate portrayal of blame, isolation, lonliness and personal shock of the social worker and think about how this culture can be changed and why it exists in rhe first place. Ignore the drink the sick and the soap opera elements and bring collective energy to tackle the real issues that could strike any social worker.

    • The Scouse SW January 11, 2018 at 1:41 pm #

      Well said Sharon, we are all vulnerable

      …..and good to hear your strength and resilience continues

    • Boozara January 11, 2018 at 3:16 pm #

      spot on Sharon

  3. Ruth Cartwright January 11, 2018 at 2:02 pm #

    I agree with Sharon. The SW didn’t make a particularly bad decision but there is always a risk that things will go wrong, and her being hung out to dry does feel very familiar. The mystery of Kiri’s death thickens – not the dad, but the foster brother maybe?

  4. Roger Harris January 11, 2018 at 2:20 pm #

    But it is a Drama. There is always going to be some Poetic licience. Otherwise it wouldn’t be a Drama. When do they ever portray a drama or storyline as it is from books.
    Let us not forget Errol Flynn and Audie Murphy won the Battle of the Pacific by themselves if you take American Movies as fact.

  5. Liz Davies January 11, 2018 at 2:31 pm #

    I can’t ignore the drink driving and the portrayal of a social worker which plays into all the negative stereotypes. It is cheap TV, poorly researched and does nothing useful to support the work of those of us doing the job.

  6. L Jackson January 11, 2018 at 5:32 pm #

    why was only the case holding social work suspended and not also the team manager who apparantly agreed with the decision for unsupervised contact.

  7. ANONYMOUS January 11, 2018 at 8:36 pm #

    Sharon Shoesmith HITS THE NAIL ON THE HEAD! The amount of scapegoating and unprovoked blaming and ostracising in the Social Services needs to be tackled but how? Apart from the dedication the work demands, staff learn to look over their shoulder to protect themselves and know that trying to challenge repressive or authoritarian regimes can cost them their job or the service they provide.
    Whistle-blowing maybe needed but is not an attractive solution apart from the fact that a number have no genuine cause or have motives other than justice or professional concerns.

    Changing the culture is complex but utterly important. It needs much thought from many Workers. Is it amiss to suggest offering a modest prize of £1,000.- for the best contribution on the subject ?

  8. Sarah January 11, 2018 at 8:40 pm #

    Was disgusted by it, a complete mis-representation of a difficult job. One that we do without the ‘prop’ of a hip flask!

  9. Anne January 11, 2018 at 9:33 pm #

    Absolute rubbish, drunk, indecisive, throwing up, rude, inept, unprofessional and that bloody dog, turned it over after 30 minutes or I would have thrown up

  10. Laura January 12, 2018 at 7:13 pm #

    I really liked it. The character seemed realistic – she clearly has a lot of layers to pull back. Several elements (not all, for example Social Workers don’t turn up drunk to their service users’ houses and vomit on their carpet – although obviously very few people get into this sort of serious case review so who knows what they would do then?) were realistic and I felt that the producers had definitely done their research. I don’t care about the dog thing – it doesn’t matter. I don’t think it’s practical to take a dog to work but the fact people are getting irate about it is weird. People place a great deal of value on what it means to look professional which again is the least important thing about Social Work.The Social Worker seemed fairly bright, ballsy,decisive and certainly very empathetic which makes for the best sort of Social Worker. This is also a nice portrayal of what it might be like to go through this sort of tragedy as a Social Worker, and I think the way the manager and everyone else reacts is entirely believable and possible.
    My bets are that the foster mother did it! Unless we get more of a look at the foster father and he turns out to be troubled, but, if not, then it was definitely the foster mother.