Immigration Street cut short after locals protest against Channel 4's Benefit Street spin-off

The six-episode run was shortened after angry residents disrupted filming

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The Independent Culture

Channel 4 has been forced to cut Benefits Street spin-off Immigration Street after angry protests by residents.

The planned six-episode run has been shortened in the wake of disruptions on set last week, during which locals of Southampton’s Derby Road demanded a change of title and for a preview to be sent to police.

More than 1,000 people have signed a petition against Immigration Street, arguing that it could ignite “racially-motivated violence” and fuel prejudice with its “sensationalist broadcasting”.

Furthermore, a group of Southampton residents travelled to Channel 4’s London headquarters for a demonstration on Saturday.

Channel 4 has defended its series, insisting that as immigration is “one of the most fiercely debated issues in Britain today”, it is “vital that as a public service broadcast [it] makes programmes about such topics”.

 

"The number of episodes of a series can change between commissioning and transmission for a number of reasons,” a spokesperson said.

“In the case of Immigration Street, while there were residents on Derby Road in Southampton who wanted to share their stories others on the street were determined to hinder filming.

"Because of the disruption this caused, Immigration Street will now be shorter than the initially planned six episodes.”

The broadcaster added that despite objections from some locals, the programme will be aired in the next few weeks because “immigration is too important an issue for debate about it to be silenced”.

Channel 4 first announced the series with a synopsis promising to “capture life on a street in Southampton where the mix of residents has been transformed over time and continues to evolve as a result of immigration”.

Last year’s Benefits Street attracted more than 1,700 complaints from viewers criticising the negative portrayal of those who claim benefits.

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