A cameraman has hit back at controversial TV show Benefits Street being filmed in the North with his own homage to his beloved hometown.
Crews from Love Productions are filming the second series of the TV show, which follows people living off benefits, on Kingston Road in Stockton for Channel Four.
But Karl Coates, who has worked as a cameraman and producer for Sky News and BBC, said he fears the controversial TV show will only show Stockton in a negative light.
In a rebuttal to the image he expects the programme to portray of his beloved hometown, the cameraman has gone out to film his own short video to show all the great things about the area.
In the short videos Karl states that Stockton, Teesside and the North East “will yet again be hung out to dry”.
The video has already had more than 8,300 views since being published on YouTube in August and initially shows shots of a street, believed to be the one the crew of Benefits Street are filming on. Karl then changes the tone of the video and words flash across the screen saying:
“You will not however see any of these shots. The real Stockton my hometown”.
He then goes on to show landmarks such as the Infinity Bridge, by day and night, as well as the Tees Barrage,the Teesside Princess, the North Shore development, and the £38m regeneration of the high street.
In the video he says some residents are keen to be involved in a film showing Stockton in a positive light and are proud of where they live.
“An entire generation are about to be stigmatised, and that’s online globally through social media and within seconds when these programmes are broadcast to the outside world and for those who don’t know Stockton, its history and proud people, it will be forever associated as the town that’s on benefits.
Not as the home of the world’s first passenger railway or the invention of the friction match that lit up our planet, or indeed the town that’s having a 40 million pound make over that looks absolutely stunning.
“This program will have a direct impact on inward investment, jobs, trade, tourism and self-esteem.”
“Sometimes in life you have to jump off that fence and stand up for what you believe is right and I could give you a hundred reasons why filming Benefit’s Street in Stockton is simply wrong.
Love Productions say they are giving the minority a voice, well we all have a voice and its up to us to choose whether or not we use it, I’m afraid Love Productions, we have all seen the last series and are simply not stupid.”
Concerns have already been raised by MPs and other residents in the area about the filming of the show in Stockton following the first series which followed residents in an area of Birmingham.
“There is massive support from people who see the damage this programme will do to our community and I have a camera and all we can do it inform people what is going on and paint Stockton in the most picture perfect light possible. We can show people our Stockton, the real Stockton before the entire nation judges us.”
Source – Middlesbrough Evening Gazette, 12 Oct 2014