Channel 4 announced last week that the new series of Benefits Street, filmed in Stockton-on-Tees, will start being shown on Monday 11 May.
Church Action on Poverty set up Real Benefits Street to counter the stigma and misconceptions which are promoted by the media sensationalism around TV programmes like Benefits Street, and to enable people receiving benefits – the real experts – to tell their own stories.
The new series of Benefits Street has not even started yet, and already, it has prompted news stories and social media discussions that stigmatise and dehumanise the people taking part. Channel 4 have chosen to promote the programme by highlighting scenes of drug-taking and illegal behaviour. The participants have been described in national headlines as “a parade of addicts and scroungers”.
Church Action on Poverty’s Director Niall Cooper will appear on Radio 4’s Sunday programme on 1o May, talking to a representative from the company who produce Benefits Street about the impact their programme has on vulnerable people.