True Vision

films that make a difference

Golden Oldies

Back to ‘Our Films’
59 minutes
Nick Poyntz
Executive Producer:
Brian Woods

We've been contacted by many people wanting to help the three contributors in this film.   There are many specialised charities in the UK working to tackle the issues causes by poverty and isolation in the later years, whic can offer help and support to older people in similar circumstances to those shown in the film. Details of a range of organisations can be found at the bottom of this page and also on the BBC Golden Oldies website.

Gifts sent to our office at 49a Oxford Road South, London W4 3DD will be passed on to Francis, Doris and Kitty.  But if you do send anything to our office, please also include postage to cover the cost of sending your gift on. If you wish to send a cheque, please make it payable to The Aletheia Foundation.  If you want to make an online transfer please credit The Aletheia Foudation, AC No. 22637907, Sort Code 60-05-30.  And please make it clear to whom you would like any gift to go. If you want further information, email Petra on who can give you details.

We will work with Age UK to assess any offers of help to ensure that they are

  • appropriate

  • in the best interests of the contributors

  • to ensure the contributors are helped but not overwhelmed

An affectionate portrayal of being old today. Three Golden Oldies pass on their astute and humorous insights on becoming old and poor, and the stark choices they now face in their twilight years. Full of wisdom, independent spirit and hard earned perspective. Makes you ask, “Could this happen to me?”

We are living longer than ever before.  As one 102 year old says in this affectionate and surprisingly lighthearted documentary says “We’re living too long. They should shoot you when you’re 60!”

For the majority the long years we now face beyond retirement may at some point become a daunting prospect. Even those who were affluentin their working years, will now potentially face hard times in their old age the longer we live. Almost one in five of us will now reach our hundredth birthday.

This film focuses on three remarkable Golden Oldies, struggling on the bare minimum to maintain their independence and stay out of the dreaded clutches of the care home.

  • Doris is 84, who won’t let a living soul (including the film-maker) inside her chaotic Clacton home - for fear that social services will take it away from her.

  • Feisty Kitty in Exeter is also 84.  She shows us her Kate Moss inspired knicker and bra collection, and dreams of a miracle cure to an illness like most dream of winning the lottery.

  • And then there’s relatively youthful and charismatic Frank from Liverpool, who at 72 has lost his family to emigration and with no one left has lost the will to carry on - but not his intelligence or tragic humour. Self-imprisoned in his own home like a character from a Samuel Beckett play, his neighbours rarely see him.  He hasn’t had a bath in years – mainly because he doesn’t have one. He’s reminiscent of an older, helpless Boo Radley from Harper Lee’s, To Kill a Mockingbird.

Philip Larkin’s poem famously asks ‘What do they think has happened, the old fools, To make them like this?’ And this documentary allows us to follow these three forgotten voices from our older generation, and listen and watch as they pass on their astute and humorous insights on becoming old and poor, and the stark choices they now face in the context of the rich tapestry of the lives they have lived.

Full of wisdom, independent spirit and hard earned perspective their conversations with film-maker, Nick Poyntz offer brilliant and amusing observation on how we treat our vulnerable and old from those that have first hand experience living on the breadline in their twilight years.

Being old has never been easy, but it is set to get a great deal harder in the coming months, years and decades. The state pension of £102.15 per week is less than half the national minimum wage, and way below the poverty line.  The cut in winter fuel allowance of around £100, announced in March’s budget, is only going to make things worse, as will the state pension being switched from Retail Price Indexation to Consumer Price Indexation. 8 out of 10 councils are now preparing to provide at-home services only for those classified as in “critical need”.

As well as the loss of these services, councils are cutting a whole range of other supports for the elderly – Day Centres are closing; Meals on Wheels are being stopped; shopping, household help, bathing & dressing help, and befriending services are all being phased out.

Against this background this film is a Cri de Coeur highlighting the way so many elderly people in this country are too easily forgotten - seeing out their years in relative hardship - neglected despite, in many cases, spending a lifetime contributing to society in a meaningful way.

This is a film that stays with you long after watching. As the ever engaging and articulate Doris says “Our legs may be gone, but our brains aren’t gone!”. In answer to where she wants to end up she deadpans “straight under the rhubarb”. Television is at it’s best when it throws up original Golden Oldies such as these.

This film gives voice to our oldest generation who now live on the margins of our 21st century Welfare Society.

This is what viewers thought of Golden Oldies, as reported on Points of View


Tweets right now about Golden Oldies:-


Several Organisations helped us in the making of this film

We'd like to thank them, not only for their help, but for the invaluable work they do supporting older people in our community.

The Salvation Army provides support for older people all over the UK, in many different ways

AGE UK work across the country


- More money in your pocket:

- Living on a low income in later life campaign:

Home and care

-       Help at home:

-       Care and support: advice on where to start:

-       Thinking about your options: it’s not all about care homes:


-       Try out benefits calculator and see if you’re entitled to extra money:

-       Tracing lost accounts  - millions sits in ‘forgotten’ accounts:

-       Powers of attorney FAQs – why it’s better to do it sooner rather than later:


“Smiling is Infectious” used by kind permission of KAREN MCLENDON LAUMANN

Researcher KATIE RICE


Production Coordinator NIKI WHEWELL, DOUGAL MURRAY

Production Manager PIPPA WHITE


Dubbing Mixer JAMIE PERERA



Executive Producers for BBC SAM ANTHONY & EMMA WILLIS

Executive Producer BRIAN WOODS

Filmed & Directed by NICK POYNTZ