Bid to make Benefits Street-style programme in Newport
8:20am Tuesday 21st January 2014 in News
LEAFLETS appealing for participants for a new television programme about life on benefits have appeared in Bettws, Newport.
Under the heading, “What is life really like on benefits?” the notice explains Channel 5 are making a new documentary series looking at what life is really like when you live on benefits.
It said: “We are offering individuals and families the opportunity to speak about their personal experiences.”
Ed Buckley, a producer working for Channel 5’s in-house production company 5 Productions, said the idea of the programme had been conceived before Channel 4’s controversial Benefits Street was transmitted and that it was in no way influenced by it.
Kevin Whitehead, independent councillor for Bettws, said: “At the end of the day they’re playing with people’s lives. I bet they didn’t go to Langstone. They know what they are doing.
“You get dregs wherever you go but they will do our estate no favours.”
He said a woman had pulled several of the leaflets down in Bettws shops last Thursday.
Mr Buckley maintained the programme would focus on relationships about people on benefits in a “light, entertaining and positive way”.
Bruno’s hairdressers was among many of the businesses in Bettws shopping centre where the leaflets were dropped. One woman who works there, said: “I think it’s disgusting because they will edit it and make it worse. A lot of people in Bettws do actually work and they are just stereotyping people.”
Flyers were also left in The Nightingale pub, which was asked whether Channel 5 could film there. The pub declined their offer.
Tony Sefton has lived in Bettws his whole life and said he wouldn’t want to appear on the programme.
Mr Buckley said the production company had visited Merthyr Tydfil for two days at the end of last week.
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