Benefits Street producer confirms new series Immigration Street in the pipeline

Producers are looking to set the new series in Derby Road, Southampton

The production company behind controversial documentary Benefits Street has said it is developing a new series about immigrants in Britain.

Love Productions has confirmed it is looking into a series about “what happens to immigrants when they arrive in this country and are looking to be part of society”.

It has been rumoured that Immigration Street - a working title - will be set on Derby Street in Southampton, but the location has yet to be officially confirmed.

In a statement, Channel 4 said: “The title and location are not yet confirmed and discussions are ongoing with local people.”

The show would be separate but come from “the same stable as Benefits Street,” according to executive producer Kieran Smith.

“We thought there was something to do about what happens to immigrants when they arrive in this country who are looking to be part of British society,” he told BBC Radio 5 Live.

“We thought Derby Road was an interesting area that reflects what happens when immigrants move into an area and change the look of an area.”

Map shows Derby Road in Southampton Street map showing Derby Road in Southampton But David Bane, secretary of the Southampton Council of Faiths, told the Daily Echo that his organisation was “cautious” about the proposed plans.

“We had a meeting last Tuesday and there’s mixed feeling about it as we don’t have control over what the programme comes out like,” he said.

Smith did admit that the community are “worried” about the impact such a show could have on their neighbourhood. As such, he has promised to show the programme to residents before transmission.

Benefits Street faced a fierce backlash when it aired on Channel 4 in January, despite the broadcaster defending the documentary as “fair and balanced”. 

 

Benefits Street was a sympathetic, humane and objective portrayal of how people are coping with continuing austerity and cuts in benefits,” a spokesperson said.

Thousands of viewers complained that the series was negatively portraying benefits claimants living on Birmingham’s James Turner Street, while others issued social media death threats to people they saw as “scroungers”.

Channel 4 has also confirmed a second Benefits Street series is in the pipeline.

“Love Productions are in development and researching potential new locations for a second series of Benefits Street around the country,” the comment read.

“The first series ignited an important debate about the welfare system and we are interested in seeing if we can revisit this through the experiences of residents of a street in a different part of Britain.”

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