9 episodes

The sinister life coaching company that takes over your life. Catrin Nye investigates.
In early 2019 Jeffrey Leigh-Jones from Portsmouth got a life coach. Someone to mentor him in life and help him realise his business ambitions.
Two years later, Jeff had sold his house, his relationship was in pieces, and he had handed over tens of thousands of pounds. And he wasn't the only one. In this eighteen-month investigation for the BBC, journalist Catrin Nye and her team expose control, intimidation and fear at a mysterious life coaching company taking over people's lives and ripping families apart.
As the investigation hots up, the group fights back, and there's a surreal final showdown.

A Very British Cult BBC Radio 4

    • News
    • 4.7 • 223 Ratings

The sinister life coaching company that takes over your life. Catrin Nye investigates.
In early 2019 Jeffrey Leigh-Jones from Portsmouth got a life coach. Someone to mentor him in life and help him realise his business ambitions.
Two years later, Jeff had sold his house, his relationship was in pieces, and he had handed over tens of thousands of pounds. And he wasn't the only one. In this eighteen-month investigation for the BBC, journalist Catrin Nye and her team expose control, intimidation and fear at a mysterious life coaching company taking over people's lives and ripping families apart.
As the investigation hots up, the group fights back, and there's a surreal final showdown.

    Welcome to... A Very British Cult

    Welcome to... A Very British Cult

    Catrin Nye gets a mysterious call that plunges her into an unsettling world of self-help and cults. What happens when a life coach takes over your life?
    In early 2019 Jeffrey Leigh-Jones from Portsmouth got a life coach. Someone to mentor him in life and help him realise his business ambitions.

    Two years later, Jeff had sold his house, his relationship was in pieces, and he had handed over tens of thousands of pounds. And he wasn’t the only one. In this eighteen-month investigation for the BBC, journalist Catrin Nye and her team expose control, intimidation and fear at a mysterious life coaching company taking over people’s lives and ripping families apart.

    As the investigation hots up, the group fights back, and there’s a surreal final showdown…
    Listen to all eight episodes from Wednesday 5 April 2023.

    Reporter: Catrin Nye
    Written by: Jamie Bartlett and Catrin Nye
    Producers: Osman Iqbal, Natalie Truswell, Ed Main and Jo Adnitt
    Researcher: Aisha Doherty
    Executive producer: Ravin Sampat
    Sound engineer: James Bradshaw
    Original music by: Phil Channell
    Commissioner: Rhian Roberts

    • 2 min
    1. Lighthouse

    1. Lighthouse

    In November 2021 investigative journalist Catrin Nye got a call from Dawn. She said her boyfriend Jeff was trying to leave a cult. But this cult was also a life coaching company.
    Dawn said Jeff had handed over more than £100,000 to them and wasted years of his life. And what Dawn is really worried about is that the group are still active; they’re recruiting new members and she needs to raise the alarm. Jeff had simply signed up for a life coach, so how did it all go so wrong for him?
    What happens when a life coach takes over your life? Catrin Nye and her team expose control, intimidation and fear at a sinister life coaching company.
    Reporter: Catrin Nye
    Written by: Jamie Bartlett and Catrin Nye
    Producers: Osman Iqbal, Natalie Truswell, Ed Main and Jo Adnitt
    Researcher: Aisha Doherty
    Executive Producer: Ravin Sampat
    Sound engineer: James Bradshaw
    Original music by: Phil Channell
    Commissioner: Rhian Roberts
    Archive clips from: Stephen Covey Video on Choosing Success (Success Television)

    • 29 min
    2. The Daily Call

    2. The Daily Call

    Jeff is being drawn deeper and deeper into a life coaching group called Lighthouse. He loves having a mentor and feels great about life. Now it’s time to take the next step, to go full time. But what exactly awaits Jeff, and what is it going to cost him?
    What happens when a life coach takes over your life? Catrin Nye and her team expose control, intimidation and fear at a sinister life coaching company.
    Reporter: Catrin Nye
    Written by: Jamie Bartlett and Catrin Nye
    Producers: Osman Iqbal, Natalie Truswell, Ed Main & Jo Adnitt
    Researcher: Aisha Doherty
    Executive Producer: Ravin Sampat
    Sound Mixing: James Bradshaw
    Original Music by: Phil Channell
    Commissioner: Rhian Roberts

    • 28 min
    3. The Life Coach

    3. The Life Coach

    Catrin is quite cynical about the concept of life coaching. She’s now spent months speaking with people who signed up to it and ended up in a cult. So, she has a session with one of Ireland’s most in-demand coaches to see if he can change her mind.
    Then Catrin meets Anthony, who found Lighthouse during a very dark time in his life. She’s shocked by what she hears about his mentor’s approach to Anthony’s mental health issues.
    What happens when a life coach takes over your life? Catrin Nye and her team expose control, intimidation and fear at a sinister life coaching company.
    Reporter: Catrin Nye
    Written by: Jamie Bartlett and Catrin Nye
    Producers: Osman Iqbal, Natalie Truswell, Ed Main & Jo Adnitt
    Researcher: Aisha Doherty
    Executive Producer: Ravin Sampat
    Sound Mixing: James Bradshaw
    Original Music by: Phil Channell
    Commissioner: Rhian Roberts

    • 29 min
    4. Getting Out

    4. Getting Out

    The investigation is finding out more and more strange things about Lighthouse. We hear what happens when people start to question what is happening. Catrin speaks with Erin who raised concerns about Lighthouse and was accused of being "a cynical little old witch".
    Meanwhile Lighthouse is getting increasingly obsessed with its critics and former members.
    What happens when a life coach takes over your life? Catrin Nye and her team expose control, intimidation and fear at a sinister life coaching company.
    Reporter: Catrin Nye
    Written by: Jamie Bartlett and Catrin Nye
    Producers: Osman Iqbal, Natalie Truswell, Ed Main & Jo Adnitt
    Researcher: Aisha Doherty
    Executive Producer: Ravin Sampat
    Sound Mixing: James Bradshaw
    Original Music by: Phil Channell
    Commissioner: Rhian Roberts
    Archive clips from Stanley Milgram, Solomon Asch Conformity experiment re-enactment, 1974: copyright Alexandra Milgram and Alexander Street.

    • 30 min
    5. Paulie

    5. Paulie

    To understand Lighthouse, Catrin needs to try and understand Paul Waugh. She delves into his past to investigate his claims of incredible wealth, high profile business connections, and a difficult childhood.
    What happens when a life coach takes over your life? Catrin Nye and her team expose control, intimidation and fear at a sinister life coaching company.
    Reporter: Catrin Nye
    Written by: Jamie Bartlett and Catrin Nye
    Producers: Osman Iqbal, Natalie Truswell, Ed Main & Jo Adnitt
    Researcher: Aisha Doherty
    Executive Producer: Ravin Sampat
    Sound Mixing: James Bradshaw
    Original Music by: Phil Channell
    Commissioner: Rhian Roberts
    Archive clips: Unleashing the Power Within - An Owner's Manual for the Brain (Robbins Research Institute); Zig Ziglar - Changing the Picture (Zig Ziglar Corporation); Harvey Mackay: Best-Selling Author & Entrepreneur (Eagles Talent); The Oprah Winfrey Show 1993 (Harpo Productions); The Oprah Winfrey Show 1988 (Harpo Productions); The Oprah Winfrey Show 1996 (Harpo Productions).

    • 29 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
223 Ratings

223 Ratings

d00dles4science ,

A very coach-y cult

Definitely binge-worthy! Appreciated learning some new info about the topic. Like so many (if not most) life coach scammers it involves an almost hard to believe history. Still trying to figure out what makes it so “very British” though, because as the producer says, this could (if it hasn’t already) happen in your neighborhood! Would love an update. Love to all who are healing from cult experiences

laura840 ,

So what’s new?

I’m sure this story is not over. I’d love to hear more.

Gblb10 ,

Excellent

Well researched and very engaging. I don’t understand the complaints about the title. It’s an expose on a cult based in UK. Excellent. Binged all the episodes. Healing to all who left and hopefully will leave in the future.

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