Benefits Street series two: Twitter reacts to first episode as Royal Family, Conservatives and residents come under fire

Viewers also seemed to appreciate how residents such as Julie and Lee were portrayed in a more sympathetic light

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The Independent Culture

A new series of Benefits Street has begun, along with a predictable level of controversy and mixed opinion.

Viewers were introduced to the "big mammas" of the street on 11 May, including Julie Young and her best friend Sue Griffiths, and Lee, a single man, who after being made redundant now relies on food banks and the charity of neighbours like Julie to survive.

Based on Kingston Road in Stockton-On-Tees, the show introduces viewers to a new group of residents who have built a strong community spirit in the face of economic challenges.

"They think we're scroungers, but they don’t ask why we’re not working," says mother-of-five Sue Griffiths in the series two trailer.

"We stick together on this estate, we stick together all of us."

So how did people react to the second episode?

 

Some took the opportunity to criticise the Royal Family:

 

Channel 4 has been criticised for appearing to paint the people who appear on its programme in a negative light, while the residents themselves complained they had been misled.

The first series, set in James Turner Street in Birmingham, attracted hundreds of complaints to broadcasting watchdog Ofcom, with some branding it "poverty porn".

So viewers were pleasantly surprised to see a more sympathetic view taken towards the plight of carer Julie and her 15-year-old son, who is severely disabled.

 

However other viewers were less sympathetic towards the other residents.

 

 

 

And others felt that it still stigmatised people who live on welfare.

Following the news that David Cameron has re-appointed Iain Duncan Smith as Work and Pensions Secretary, others felt that the new Conservative government would demonise those on welfare; as Benefits Street has often been accused of doing.

 

And, of course, the usual suspects were lurking around in Twitter’s dark underbelly to make sure they had their say.

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