Tag Archives: James Turner Street

Channel 4…Benefits Street. Are kids fair game?

20 Jan

Is Benefits Street using Child Poverty for entertainment?

Benefits Street has been one of the most talked about programmes on TV this year.  Largely in part because of its relentless focus on the some of the least attractive recipients of the welfare system. The sort of people guaranteed to drive middle England apoplectic with rage and have the readers of the Daily Mail spluttering into their cups of tea in fury.

I presume most of the participants in the programme have consented to appearing in the programme, the resultant programme may not be what they expected but it is ultimately with their consent (although I am a bit unsure how they got consent from resident drunk Fungi , who in addition to his love for the amber liquid was revealed to be illiterate).

That though only applies to the adults, todays episode focused on the children of the residents of James Turner street. In doing so it took on a more worrying dimension. The kids are in homes that are portrayed as ranging from mildly dysfunction to a point where you are wondering where the hell are social services.

Ultimately the question is even with the assumed consent of their parents it is right to put these kid’s situation at home on the Network TV for the public’s entertainment? It is no surprise the programme has been dubbed by the rest of the media as benefit porn.

 

Channel 4…Benefits Street. Was the law being broken?

8 Jan

Benefits Street… Benefit Voyeurism gone wrong.

When I watch programmes like Benefit Street I feel it is has a clear demographic in mind. The demographic is one of people who are convinced that being on benefits is simply a pathway to criminality, dysfunctional behaviour and a disdain for all civilised social norms.

The Channel 4 documentary which visited James Turner Street, Winlsow Green, Birmingham would have done little if anything to dispel that impression, and plenty to re-enforce it.

So rampant were the suggestions of criminal activity being undertaken, that you would be forgiven for thinking this was just one long re-enactment on CrimeWatch. From  scenes which depicted what seemed like the illegal cultivation of marijuana, through to scenes purporting to show the proceeds of shop lifting, the breaching of  Anti Social Behaviour Orders (ASBOs) and obtaining money under false pretences, the show wallowed in the criminal aura given off by people it followed in the documentary.

Setting aside the wider question of why the programme failed to show a balanced view of what living on benefits might be like, a more immediate question that came to mind was if the actions they were filming were actual criminal activities, or evidence that criminal activities had taken place, aren’t the producers or film crew legally bound to inform the police as to what they had witnessed and filmed, and did they?