A Life Less Ordinary

Sandra Gregory

Series 2 - Episode 1 Sandra Gregory

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Review

Sandra Gregory is the definition of stoical, which probably accounts for why she is still alive and sane. In early 1993 she made a really stupid decision and agreed to carry 89g of heroin in her back passage through the flight check-in at Bangkok airport.

A suspicious customs team stopped her for an x-ray and she was, as she puts it, “caught bang to rights.” Why had she agreed to carry the drugs for someone else? Desperation is her only explanation. She’d run out of money in Thailand and was going to use the £1,000 she’d been promised if she carried the gear to buy herself a ticket home to England.

Gregory makes for an interesting first subject in the return of A Life Less Ordinary — the series that examines how ordinary people are transformed by extraordinary events — but not a particularly likeable one. While she takes it firmly on the chin about how stupid she was and how guilty she felt, and still feels, about letting her family and friends down, there is something frighteningly determined about her.

Perhaps that’s how she survived the squalor, rats and leeches of a Thai jail, although she found her incarceration in Durham Prison — after she had been repatriated, but still had to serve her sentence — with the likes of Rosemary West far more depressing.

Gregory’s feelings about the British media, who responded to her imprisonment with a mixture of broadsheet empathy and tabloid disgust, are extreme. She asks herself why she has agreed to work with them again on this programme. Maybe she still likes to take a risk?

Summary

The documentary about the way extreme events have transformed ordinary lives returns, and begins by revisiting the story of Sandra Gregory, the British woman who was placed in the media spotlight after her arrest in Thailand for smuggling drugs in 1993. Sandra discusses the motive for her crime, how she narrowly avoided the death penalty, and the shame she felt at having images of herself behind bars sent to the UK for family and friends to see.

Cast & Crew

Contributor Sandra Gregory
Producer Geoff Bird
Education