Channel 4 postpones 'Smuggled' documentary after bodies discovered in lorry

Channel 4 has postponed the broadcast of a documentary called Smuggled in the wake of 39 bodies being found in a lorry in Essex yesterday.

The two-part programme, which was due to air on Monday, sees eight members of the public try to enter the UK from Europe by evading border checks.

A spokesperson said: "In light of the tragic events we have postponed the transmission of the series.”

Smuggled had been described by the broadcaster as an "unprecedented national security experiment”.

A press preview screening for the two-part show was scheduled for 23 October; however, it was cancelled earlier in the week for unrelated reasons.

A lorry in which 39 bodies were discovered in the trailer is driven from the site to a secure location where further forensic investigation can take place, on October 23, 2019 in Thurrock, England. Authorities said they believed the lorry originated in Bulgaria. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

Police were called to the lorry in Essex yesterday morning where the bodies were discovered, with all 39 people pronounced dead at the scene.

Read more: Warnings issued three years ago about people smuggling at quieter UK ports

Officers have said the vehicle had travelled from Zeebrugge, Belgium, into Purfleet, Essex.

When Smuggled was announced in August, Channel 4 said it wanted to explore Britain's border security "as the UK prepares to ‘take back control’ of its borders and end freedom of movement for EU citizens".

Police and forensic officers inspect the site where 39 bodies were discovered in the back of a lorry on October 23, 2019 in Thurrock, England. The lorry was discovered early Wednesday morning in Waterglade Industrial Park on Eastern Avenue in the town of Grays. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

Meanwhile, Head of Factual Entertainment Alf Lawrie said at the time: "This dramatic series has real purpose at its heart. Extreme, authentic and utterly timely, it is a standout experiment that we hope will inform the national conversation.”

Read more: Suspected migrants ‘had no chance of survival’ in freezing trailer

Promotional material for the show, made by production company ScreenDog, said: "From boats to lorries, ferries to car boots - all of the contributors attempt routes that have been used by those seeking to enter the country clandestinely or by people traffickers and drug dealers."

With reporting by PA.

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