Press Centre

On Assignment

  • Episode: 

    5 of

  • Transmission (TX): 

    Tue 11 Jun 2019
  • TX Confirmed: 

  • Time: 

    11.05pm - 11.40pm
  • Week: 

    Week 24 2019 : Sat 08 Jun - Fri 14 Jun
  • Channel: 

The information contained herein is embargoed from all Press, online, social media, non-commercial publication or syndication - in the public domain - until Tuesday 4 June 2019.
The final episode in the current run of ITV’s award-winning international current affairs series On Assignment features more revealing stories from around the world, fronted by Rageh Omaar.
This time, Penny Marshall meets climate change activists clashing with coal miners facing unemployment and uncertainty, in a battle over a mine being extended across the ancient Hambach forest in Germany. Chris Ship visits the first Catholic church to be built in Cuba since the triumph of Castro’s communist revolution, and talks to the worshipers about life under the regime which banned Christmas. Finally, Rageh Omaar visits the Italian prisons reforming female inmates through a variety of food-related schemes – including farming, brewing beer and selling cheese.
German Clean Energy – Penny Marshall
In Germany, Angela Merkel’s eco credentials are under question as the country continues to rely heavily on coal – an issue which is causing public opinion to polarise to political extremes. Although last year renewables accounted for about 41 per cent of the country's electricity, 40 per cent still came from coal, spewing thousands of tons of noxious gases into the atmosphere. As the government tries to reduce its reliance on harmful fossil fuels, on one side the coal workers are fighting to save their livelihoods, buoyed up by the far-right AfD. On the other, Green Party-voting climate activists say they are fighting to save the planet. And stuck in the middle is Merkel’s beleaguered ‘grand coalition’. Penny Marshall travels across the country exploring how Germany's dilemma could impact on developed countries across the globe who face difficult choices about progress, employment and the urge to protect the environment.
Cuba Church – Chris Ship
Despite being baptised as a Roman Catholic, Fidel Castro was said to have become a persecutor of the church after seizing power in Cuba in 1959 because he believed it was conspiring against his vision of an officially atheist state. Under his communist rule schools were closed, priests exiled and organised religion driven underground – forcing many to hold masses in converted garages and private homes. In January this year, the first Roman Catholic church built since the revolution was consecrated in Sandino. The Sacred Heart of Jesus is the first of three new parishes on the island and a symbol of hope to many. After this milestone in the state’s evolving relationship with organised religion, Chris Ship meets those who have feared worshipping openly for so long.
Italian Prison Reform – Rageh Omaar
Italy’s prison system has long been known for overcrowding, with the population reaching 129 per cent of its capacity in 2019. Rather than being caused by a higher rate of detention, this is due to fewer people being released from prison and an increase in sentences of less than three years. Inside prison walls, attitudes are shifting to help prisoners learn new skills and prepare for life outside. Rageh Omaar meets female prisoners in Rome’s Rebibbia jail who are learning to make traditional cheeses and working on a prison-owned farm. He visits a bar selling beer brewed by local inmates and learns how the schemes are changing their lives.