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:
I would have prefered the royal family to come on though since they pay no tax #BenefitsStreet— 24th May (@behlul_official) May 11, 2015
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.
Hope #BenefitsStreet highlighting the plight of carer Julie and her brain damaged son deflates some of the bigotry that the show invites.— Muriel Gray (@ArtyBagger) May 11, 2015
Glad #BenefitsStreet have showed that woman's story though...some people genuinely do need help, don't begrudge paying tax for that at all— Jenna Jonathan (@JennaValleys) May 11, 2015
Finally a real story why people claim benefits. She's a carer to her disabled son not a scrounger #BenefitsStreet— kara (@kazzza1992) May 11, 2015
However other viewers were less sympathetic towards the other residents.
Absolutely loving #BenefitsStreet & the epitome of UK scum it highlights. Sanction them all; they all live better than most working people— Wayne Martin (@waynemartindm) May 11, 2015
And others felt that it still stigmatised people who live on welfare.
#BenefitsStreet doesnt tell the story of UK's poorest, it tells you the right wing narrative of it. Extend your hand, dont point your finger— Erin Chamberlain (@ErinCxx) May 11, 2015
#BenefitsStreet is an abominable programme. The stigma it creates about people on welfare is actually quite sickening in the main.— Kris For Scotland (@JarlOfCaledonia) May 11, 2015
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.
Not many people know this, but the Tories WANT us to hate the people on #BenefitsStreet, so that they can continue demonizing them.— Swamp Queen (@pollyjeanharvey) May 11, 2015
And, of course, the usual suspects were lurking around in Twitter’s dark underbelly to make sure they had their say.Reuse content