FIVE friars on a mission to support Bradford’s poor will be the unlikely stars of a one-off TV documentary tomorrow night.

The fly-on-the-wall film on BBC1 at 10.45pm follows the bearded brothers’ life at the Franciscan friary as they work and pray, day and night.

The makers of Bronx to Bradford: Friars On A Mission contacted the small community originating from New York to see if its camera crew could get permission to film modern-day friars in action.

Friary Superior Father Gabriel Kyte said the hour-long programme would lift the lid on life at St Pio Friary in Sedgefield Terrace.

“It’s not all rosy. People think it must be so cute, us serving the poor, a load of monks all living together but we all need God!” he said.

The Community of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal has been based in Bradford for the past decade, living next to the run-down St Patrick’s church they hope to restore bit by bit.

Funds are now being raised to help support the work of the Franciscan friars who have refurbished the presbytery and convent on site where they run a dining room and clothes-swap visited by around 80 homeless people each day. As well as running the soup kitchen and sandwich service, the friars organise addiction and recovery groups.

About 40 people also come every day to join the friars in prayers and to find solace in the middle of the city where St Patrick’s is the oldest and only Catholic church, said Father Gabriel.

Father Gabriel said the BBC’s Religion and Ethics Department had got in touch to see if the Friary, which has other bases in London, Derry and Limerick and in the US, would help it make a film focusing on how Christianity influences British society. Viewers will see how the brothers cope with the testing daily challenges of giving help to those in need while following strict rules to live their own humble life with very few material comforts.

Avoiding possessions of their own is one of their rules and the brothers, who feed the hungry they serve, sometimes have to beg for food of their own.

“There is an Easter theme of restoration and renewal that runs through the film. Life is challenging here but it is a place where new life grows back in an environment that most people would just write-off as a lost cause,” added Father Gabriel.