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”.
Stockton residents being filmed for Benefits Street are being urged by their MP to quit the controversial TV show.
Stockton North MP Alex Cunningham has written to every resident of Kingston Road asking them to “think again” about taking part in the Channel 4 documentary.
The Labour MP has already suggested the makers of the programme, Love Productions, should “get out of the town” after accusing them of setting people up for “entertainment purposes only”.
And yesterday he paid a visit to the street in Tilery to make sure residents “understand exactly what they have got themselves into.”
He said: “I spoke with several residents who told me they and their neighbours were opposed to the programme and wanted no part of it.
“They said just a few people wanted it, but the area was already suffering from troublemakers coming in from other areas to play up to the cameras.”
The MP said he left the street after two Love Production camera crews “followed my every step”.
In his letter to the residents he says: “The television executives claim a high moral purpose to give people who they say don’t have a voice a chance to speak out about their problems and how they feel let down.
“But what they haven’t outlined is the immense intrusion there will be into participants’ lives by themselves and large parts of the media who won’t be there to do the people of our area any favours.”
He goes on: “I hope that if you are one of the people thinking of taking part that you will think again, recognise what it will really mean for you, your family and local residents, and tell Love Productions their programme isn’t for you or our community.”
Helen Goodman MP, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Culture, was in Stockton yesterday visiting Preston Hall Museum and took time out of her schedule to meet Louise Baldock, Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate for Stockton South, to discuss Benefits Street.
Helen said: “A lot of good things are happening in Stockton at Preston Hall and the Arc, so why does Channel 4 persist in perpetuating these dreary negative stereotypes? Benefits Street is not a serious documentary and serves only to make entertainment out of poverty and hardship.”
Source – Middlesbrough Evening Gazette, 30 Aug 2014