The much-talked-about doc gets another news push. What a coincidence.
Channel 4’s serialised documentary Benefits Street has been criticised from many corners. Some have been moved to condemn those featured in the show, while others have labelled Channel 4 and Love Productions as exploitative and irresponsible for putting the residents of James Turner Street into the public eye.
Sam and Becky were widely criticised for their role in supposed benefits fraud
But the residents of the street – who, despite many wishing death upon them and calling hem scum, scroungers and benefits cheats – are the innocent part in all this, and they’ll have the chance to speak their minds on a live debate to be aired after the final show on February 10th. It will be chaired by Richard Bacon.
Channel 4 head of factual Ralph Lee said: "This is a series which reflects the reality of day-to-day life for some of the residents of a single street who, for the most part, rely on benefits to survive.
"It does not and never has set out to reflect the experiences of every person who receives benefits yet it has triggered a national debate about state welfare at a time in which further welfare reforms are being proposed. We feel it is timely to provide a forum in which these issues can be raised and discussed." (The Guardian)
The argument has two main factions: those who believe the people on the show should be put in prison (many of them are, or have been), and those who believe that the residents were unfairly treated by Love Productions, who exploited them for high viewing figures. A plot that, if founded, worked magnificently.
Of course, if this isn’t handled correctly, then the debate will only intensify. Channel 4 said the panellists would represent views across the political spectrum "and crucially those who claim benefits". Then again, Channel 4 has called the programme a "fair and balanced observational documentary".