Killed By My Debt – The Tragic Tale of Jerome Rogers
Available now on BBC3, the hour long factual drama Killed By My Debt tells the true and tragic story of 20 year old courier Jerome Rogers (Chance Perdomo).
Aim for Awareness
Shot with ICE Film cameras and starring Craig Parkinson from Jet Trash, this commentary on the transference of Britain’s debt crisis on to the shoulders of young adults continues the line of socially conscious productions that Aimimage have contributed to in recent years.
A True Story
Jerome Rogers worked as a self-employed bike courier for City Sprint, delivering blood supplies to London hospitals. He was often unable to work during the winter months due to his bouts of asthma, leading to a major loss of income.
Jerome accumulated a debt of over £1,000 in just a few months after two £65 parking fines were left unpaid. His mother Tracey Rogers, played by Juliet Cowan in the drama, has tirelessly campaigned to reveal the questionable tactics used by bailiff companies.
This is highlighted by the vastly exaggerated valuation of Jerome’s motorbike which led to it being clamped, thus preventing him from working and earning the money to pay his debt.
A Call for Change
The lack of willingness to provide reasonable and realistic payment plans leads to the impossible situation that was faced by Jerome.
A Crowd Justice campaign has been set up by Tracey to raise money for a legal campaign that could help improve legislation for those in a similar position to Jerome.
A well-made depiction
Killed By My Debt finds the perfect balance between documentary and drama, earning itself a place in the Guardian’s weekly Television highlights.
The opening is one of measured optimism as Jerome receives a new bike from his mum’s partner (Steve Touissant). We see his excitement rise as he begins to work but it’s not long before he realises his pay is considerably lower than he first thought and that City Sprint’s contract had more conditions than he first realised.
The drastic escalation from the excitement of a new job to major debt and visits from an intimidating bailiff (Craig Parkinson) is indicative of the exploitative nature of the gig economy and the lack of support offered to vulnerable young adults in British cities.
A Lasting Impact
The tragic ending to this tale pulls at the heartstrings and will hopefully help promote an increase in regulations for the way bailiff companies go about their business.
It is also made clear that had the support been available, Jerome’s life would not have been endangered. The factual nature of the drama is certainly complimented by the integration of real footage and this allows a more lasting impact on the viewer as the screen fades into darkness.