Benefits Street: second series be filmed in Middlesbrough?

Hugely controversial television show Benefits Street could have its second series filmed in Middlesbrough.

Researchers for the Channel 4 show have been approaching residents and councillors in certain parts of the town asking if they would like to take part in a future series.

There have been reports of the North Ormesby, Brambles Farm, Pallister Park and Grangetown areas of the town being targeted.

The first series of Benefits Street, filmed on James Turner Street in Birmingham , sparked a national controversy about its portrayal of people living on benefits.

 Len Junier, Labour’s councillor for North Ormesby and Brambles Farm, said: “Channel 4 rang me asking whether I would be interested in taking part.

“I refused point-blank.

“I told them I don’t take part in programmes that show people in a bad light.

“East Middlesbrough has had its issues – it would be wrong to say it hasn’t – but those people in the show in Birmingham were set up.

“They were made to look like spongers and scroungers.

“I asked Channel 4 not to contact me any further.”

 

Ann Bayley, who is chairwoman of North Ormesby Neighbourhood Development Trust, said: “There are a lot of people in North Ormesby on benefits but there are a lot of good people.

“Things are going quite well around here, there are only two empty shops – we’re trying to improve.”

Specific streets thought to have been visited by researchers include Peaton Street, North Ormesby, and Marshall Avenue.

Meanwhile, TV chiefs have remained tight-lipped about the possibility of using Middlesbrough as a location.

Love Productions – which produced Benefits Street – referred queries to Channel 4.

And a spokesman for the broadcaster said: “Love Productions are in development and researching potential new locations for a second series of Benefits Street and are looking at a number of areas around the country.

“The first series ignited an important debate about the welfare system and we are interested in seeing if we can revisit this through the experiences of residents of a street in a different part of Britain.”

But speaking after the original programme was aired, Dee Roberts, who appeared in the series, said: “They said they wanted to film for a TV show about how great community spirit is in the street and how we all help each other out on a daily basis.

“But this programme has nothing to do with community, which you can tell from the title. It’s all about people in the street living off benefits, taking drugs and dossing around all day.”

Source – Middlesbrough Gazette,  04 April 2014

 

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