THE documentary Benefits Street has been criticised by
the Revd Steve Chalke, whose charity, the Oasis Trust, runs a
school in the road featured in the programme.
The Channel 4 programme, which filmed residents - many of whom
are said to claim benefits - of James Turner Street in Birmingham
for about two years, has been attacked by some of those featured in
the show as portraying the community in a negative light.
After a public meeting hosted by the Oasis Academy Foundry
school, Mr Chalke said that the residents wanted an apology from
Channel 4. He said: "The community is very angry about it.
"The street has been turned into a zoo and the residents feel
like they are exhibits. It is not representative. We have a serious
complaint as an education provider that this [programme] has
stigmatised the whole community."
Channel 4 has insisted that Benefits Street is a fair
and accurate depiction of life in James Turner Street, and that all
the participants chose willingly to take part. It hopes to host a
live TV debate when the series ends in February.
Mr Chalke said: "This debate doesn't count as a right of reply.
No one wants to take part in anything."