Life and Death in the Warehouse: release date, cast interviews, plot, first looks, and all about the hard-hitting drama

Life and Death in the Warehouse stars Aimee-Ffion Edwards (front) and Poppy Lee Friar.
Life and Death in the Warehouse stars Aimee-Ffion Edwards (front) and Poppy Lee Friar. (Image credit: BBC)

Life And Death In the Warehouse on BBC3 is a fact-based drama about gruelling warehouse work and comes from the Bafta-winning team behind Killed By My Debt and Murdered By My Father. It reveals the dark and secretive world of working in a warehouse distribution centre. Set in Wales and inspired by real stories of warehouse workers around Britain, the powerful one-off drama tells the story of pregnant Alys, played by Ackley Bridge star Poppy Lee Friar, who works in a distribution centre under a gruelling 60-hour week and an obsessive Big Brother-style CCTV monitoring that even checks how long she spends in the toilet. When Alys’s childhood friend Megan (Peaky Blinders star Aimee-Ffion Edwards) joins the team as a trainee manager, Alys hopes their shared history means Megan will go easy on her. But under pressure herself and desperate to keep her new job, Megan is soon pushing Alys to the point of collapse.

Here’s everything you need to know about the hard-hitting fact-based drama Life And Death In the Warehouse coming to BBC Three…

Beware! Warehouse rivalries and backstabbing is rife!

Beware! Warehouse rivalries and backstabbing is rife! (Image credit: BBC)

‘Life and Death in the Warehouse’ release date

Life and Death in the Warehouse is one-off drama that arrives on BBC3 on Monday March 7 at 9pm. It will also be shown on BBC One Wales and BBC iPlayer, and like most BBC3's will probably be shown on BBC1 at a later date (we'll update here as well as any international air dates).

Is there a trailer for ‘Life and Death in the Warehouse’?

Yes BBC3 has released a trailer for Life and Death in the Warehouse which shows Alys and Megan meeting and what subsequently happens as they work together in the distribution centre. Take a peek below...

'Life and Death in the Warehouse' plot’

Life and Death in the Warehouse tells the fictional story of warehouse worker Alys and her childhood friend Megan, who joins same distribution centre as to financially support her father and brother. But while Megan is a trainee manager, Alys is a ‘picker’, a floor worker who has to keep up with the constant demand to collect products and dispatch them to online customers. So when Alys’s ‘pick rate’ (the number of items picked per hour) starts to slow down, it’s up to Megan to push her to up her rate otherwise they could both lose their jobs. However, Alys is pregnant and struggling to keep up. But fearing for her future and between bouts of exhaustion and fainting, she presses on, which results in heartbreaking consequences.

There's unrest and unhappiness at work in 'Life and Death in the Warehouse'.

There's unrest and unhappiness at work in Life and Death in the Warehouse. (Image credit: BBC)

Life and Death in the Warehouse cast — Poppy Lee Friar as Alys

Lead Life and Death in the Warehouse actor Poppy made her name as Missy Booth in the C4 high school drama Ackley Bridge (2017-2019) and as Lydia in the BBC Three comedy drama In My Skin. In 2018 she portrayed Jayne Torvill in the ITV television film Torvill & Dean. She will soon be appearing in the BBC1 drama My Name Is Leon.

Alys (Poppy Lee Friar) works under a Big Brother-style system at the distribution centre.

Alys (Poppy Lee Friar) works under a Big Brother-style system at the distribution centre.   (Image credit: BBC)

Life and Death in the Warehouse — Aimee-Ffion Edwards on playing Megan

Welsh actor Aimee-Ffion stars as Megan in Life and Death in the Warehouse, and made her TV debut as Sketch in the E4 series Skins in 2008. Between 2013 and 2014 she appeared as Esme, the wife of John Shelby in the hit BBC series Peaky Blinders, and the following year she also received plaudits for playing Sophie in the BBC4 comedy series Detectorists. She’s also appeared in Keeping Faith, Man Like Mobeen and War of the Worlds.

"I knew a little about the working conditions in warehouses and distribution centres before making this film, but the script was a real eye opener in terms of the lengths employees or ‘associates’ are expected to go to in order to achieve the targets set out by their bosses," says Aimee-Ffion. "This story is a peek behind the curtain of an industry that plays a part of most people’s lives these days. We live in a culture where instant satisfaction is paramount and convenience is king but that comes at a huge cost to the people making our 'same day/next day delivery' possible. I think it's important we highlight what happens in order to achieve that for consumers."

Meanwhile, she also says the shocking reality of the drama has completely changed her shopping habits. "It’s changed my behaviour as a consumer and I think it could do the same for a lot of people who watch the show. So much of the focus in these warehouses is on the data and statistics of each employee. Hopefully this show will the audience a more personal look at those who work in this industry, and make people think twice about how and where they do their shopping in future."

Craig Parkinson on playing Danny

Craig Parkinson plays passive aggressive warehouse boss Danny, who pushes new recruit Megan to breaking point and constantly measures staff performance with endless CCTV, algorithmic surveillance, ‘self enhancement plans’ and monitoring.

The actor is best known for playing DI Matthew ‘Dot’ Cottan in Line of Duty (2012-2016) and Shaun in the E4 series Misfits (2010-2011). He’s also appeared in Indian Summers, Sick of It, Year of the Rabbit and Wild Bill. On the big screen, his credits include Brighton Rock (2010) and Wild Rose (2019). 

"On the surface you’d think Danny’s there to help and that he’s kind and open, but if you cross the line then he’s going to pounce," says Craig. "He’s watched far too many American documentaries and listened to far too many podcasts about business. He’s pretty much a cult leader. Prior to being sent this script I knew pretty much the bare basics about distribution centres. It was only by digging deep into research that I began to discover the actual horrors that come with working in a warehouse such as this. 

"It’s an important story to tell. Not only will it broaden people’s understanding, but the audience will be taken on a journey that’s as shocking as it is dramatic."

Craig Parkinson as Danny (centre, front) who is passive aggressive while managing his staff.

Craig Parkinson as Danny (centre) who is passive aggressive while managing his staff. (Image credit: BBC)

Who else is starring in Life and Death in the Warehouse?

Joining the cast of Life and Death in the Warehouse are Kimberley Nixon as manager Donna, Aled ap Steffan as warehouse worker Devon, and Sion Daniel Young as manager Sean. 

Life and Death in the Warehouse — behind-the-scenes news

As Life and Death In the Warehouse is based on true stories, creator and director Joseph Bullman (Killed By My Debt) spent several years speaking, mostly anonymously, to workers in the sector. "It became clear that distribution centre workers were being subjected to a regime in which ‘idle time’ (toilet breaks and conversations) and ‘pick rates’ are constantly measured using round-the-clock surveillance, which can lead to disciplinary hearings and ruthless sacking," he says. "Pregnant women who fall below their target ‘pick rate’ are routinely subjected to constant CCTV and algorithmic surveillance, self enhancement plans and monitoring of idle time. Sadly there are accounts in the public domain of workers suffering miscarriages in multiple different settings."

Nicholas Cannon
TV Content Director on TV Times, What's On TV and TV & Satellite Week

I'm a huge fan of television so I really have found the perfect job, as I've been writing about TV shows, films and interviewing major television, film and sports stars for over 25 years. I'm currently TV Content Director on What's On TV, TV Times, TV and Satellite Week magazines plus I previously worked on Woman and Woman's Own in the 1990s. Outside of work I swim every morning, support Charlton Athletic football club and get nostalgic about TV shows Cagney & Lacey, I Claudius, Dallas and Tenko. I'm totally on top of everything good coming up too.