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EXCLUSIVE: Benefits Street producers want new series set in Birkenhead North
NOTORIOUS Channel 4 show Benefits Street - which sparked outrage when broadcast in January - has targeted residents in Birkenhead North for a potential second series.
Householders in Fairbrook Drive received letters from programme makers Love Productions inviting them to take part in the reality show.
Bidston councillor Jim Crabtree and Frank Harrison, former chairman of Birkenhead North Development Committee, said they will be advising residents to think twice before agreeing to be filmed.
Councillor Crabtree told the Globe: “We’ve been expecting this to happen, so we're not really shocked by it.
“Hopefully, people will have seen the first series and will not take part in the second.
"I’ve spoken to residents and they are not happy, fearing it will show the area in a very negative light.
“There’s hardly anyone on benefits around here. In fact a lot of people work, so it is not a welcome invitation.”
Mr Harrison, who was chairman of the community committee for five years, said: “There have been a lot of changes in the area, so the last thing we need is Benefits Street.”
In a letter to families living in Fairbrook Drive, Love Productions wrote: “We are looking for a really strong community where neighbours look out for one another, have really interesting stories to share and offer their own perspectives of living on benefits.
“We would love the opportunity to speak to everyone on the street whether you are claiming benefits or not.”
The Globe spoke to Fairbrook Drive residents, who said they would not be taking part in the programme.
One, who asked not to be named, said: “I’m not happy that we’ve been chosen and I'm opting out.
“The programme just exploits people and can leave you wide open to criticism, as happened with the first series. I don’t want to air my dirty laundry in public.“
Love Productions declined our invitation to comment.
The five-part reality series aired in January and documented the lives of residents of James Turner Street in a Birmingham suburb.
It showed benefit claimants committing crimes, including a demonstration of how to shoplift, and portrayed people dependent on welfare as lacking motivation to seek employment
The programme was extremely controversial, with police, Channel 4 and Ofcom receiving hundreds of complaints.
There were reports of Twitter death threats made against residents of the street, and Channel 4 was accused of screening "poverty porn."
Love Productions is a UK-based company behind major TV hits such as The Mary Berry Story and The Great British Bake Off - which made a star of Wallasey-born baker Paul Hollywood.
It also produced Britain's Youngest Grannies, Rock Stars' Wives, Young Mums' Mansion and Underage and Having Sex.
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