Programme makers have been scouting Stockton for possible filming locations

James Wharton

James Wharton

First published in News
Last updated
Darlington and Stockton Times: Photograph of the Author by

A “TRASHY” television programme threatens to exploit people in Stockton, both the town’s MPs has warned.

The makers of Channel 4’s controversial Benefits Street programme, Love Productions, have been trying to persuade residents of Dixon Street in central Stockton to take part.

Stockton South MP James Wharton has written a letter to programme makers urging them not to choose Stockton – and Stockton North MP Alex Cunningham has written to residents saying they would be “exploited” by TV crews.

Conservative Mr Wharton said the area was being actively considered for the next episode of the programme.

“This is the last thing we need,” he said. “I am proud of our town. I was born and raised in Stockton and I do not want its reputation damaged by a trashy TV programme.

“Stockton is doing well, unemployment is falling, new companies are opening up and our town is headed in the right direction. This sort of cheap TV could undermine that and damage the reputation of our community.”

“Benefits Street focuses on a minority of people and presents them in the worst possible light.

“As things get better we do not want to be misrepresented and to have the hard work of so many in our community undermined.”

Mr Wharton has written to Love Productions saying he was “concerned that your programme will further perpetuate some of the unjustified, negative stereotypes often attributed to our area, by those who have no knowledge of it”.

Labour MP Mr Cunningham posted letters through all residents’ doors, saying: “Anyone who saw any of the first series will have seen how the programme makers aim to exploit people, their families and community and the problems and challenges they face - just to entertain other people.

“I think it will be largely negative with people in the area stigmatised.”

Last week residents in Brambles Farm and North Ormesby, Middlesbrough, were reportedly offered money and visited by programme makers.

The first series of Benefits Street, filmed in Birmingham, saw nearly 2,000 complaints to Ofcom, but it gave Channel 4 the highest viewing figures since 2012 and the rights for the show were sold across the world.

The programme makers were unavailable for comment last night.

Comments (11)

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7:01am Tue 15 Apr 14

Auldgadgey says...

Mr Wharton, quick quick there's a bandwagon coming!
Jump on now!!
No it doesn't matter which one it is, just make sure you are on it!!!
Mr Wharton, quick quick there's a bandwagon coming! Jump on now!! No it doesn't matter which one it is, just make sure you are on it!!! Auldgadgey
  • Score: 5

7:06am Tue 15 Apr 14

darloboss says...

A “TRASHY” television programme threatens to exploit people in Stockton, both the town’s MPs has warned.

not half as much as the torys have exploited people
A “TRASHY” television programme threatens to exploit people in Stockton, both the town’s MPs has warned. not half as much as the torys have exploited people darloboss
  • Score: -5

8:05am Tue 15 Apr 14

Ally F says...

Is that really James Wharton or a school photograph?

You shove a few hundred quid into the hands of someone who is skint on benefits, probably with smoking and drinking habits to feed, and a smattering of unplanned children, and they will just grab the money and do and say whatever the programme makers tell them to.

It's exploitation pure and simple - clever and eductated people scheming to exploit simple, vulnerable and uneducated people for the benefit of mass entertainment. Nothing more than a modern day freak show for the silver screen.
Is that really James Wharton or a school photograph? You shove a few hundred quid into the hands of someone who is skint on benefits, probably with smoking and drinking habits to feed, and a smattering of unplanned children, and they will just grab the money and do and say whatever the programme makers tell them to. It's exploitation pure and simple - clever and eductated people scheming to exploit simple, vulnerable and uneducated people for the benefit of mass entertainment. Nothing more than a modern day freak show for the silver screen. Ally F
  • Score: 18

8:15am Tue 15 Apr 14

Time-Traveller says...

"Labour MP Mr Cunningham posted letters through all residents’ doors, ".. Really?
"Labour MP Mr Cunningham posted letters through all residents’ doors, ".. Really? Time-Traveller
  • Score: 7

9:19am Tue 15 Apr 14

laboursfoe says...

I found it very uncomfortable to watch the last series,I think because I am a parent.

Perhaps the most fascinating bit was some of the decisions that people make are astonishing. That's what would have had people tuning in.

It's been on the debate was held and it was seen as the majority of the country as bad taste, a second series should not be aired.
I found it very uncomfortable to watch the last series,I think because I am a parent. Perhaps the most fascinating bit was some of the decisions that people make are astonishing. That's what would have had people tuning in. It's been on the debate was held and it was seen as the majority of the country as bad taste, a second series should not be aired. laboursfoe
  • Score: 8

12:39pm Tue 15 Apr 14

loan_star says...

darloboss wrote:
A “TRASHY” television programme threatens to exploit people in Stockton, both the town’s MPs has warned.

not half as much as the torys have exploited people
People on these programmes wont work no matter who is in charge, they will find some excuse to keep sponging off the state. They were probably already on benefits when Brown was still in charge.
[quote][p][bold]darloboss[/bold] wrote: A “TRASHY” television programme threatens to exploit people in Stockton, both the town’s MPs has warned. not half as much as the torys have exploited people[/p][/quote]People on these programmes wont work no matter who is in charge, they will find some excuse to keep sponging off the state. They were probably already on benefits when Brown was still in charge. loan_star
  • Score: -3

1:43pm Tue 15 Apr 14

John Durham says...

loan_star wrote:
darloboss wrote:
A “TRASHY” television programme threatens to exploit people in Stockton, both the town’s MPs has warned.

not half as much as the torys have exploited people
People on these programmes wont work no matter who is in charge, they will find some excuse to keep sponging off the state. They were probably already on benefits when Brown was still in charge.
Although if they get paid to be on the programme aren't they technically working?
[quote][p][bold]loan_star[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]darloboss[/bold] wrote: A “TRASHY” television programme threatens to exploit people in Stockton, both the town’s MPs has warned. not half as much as the torys have exploited people[/p][/quote]People on these programmes wont work no matter who is in charge, they will find some excuse to keep sponging off the state. They were probably already on benefits when Brown was still in charge.[/p][/quote]Although if they get paid to be on the programme aren't they technically working? John Durham
  • Score: 7

2:06pm Tue 15 Apr 14

Time-Traveller says...

John Durham wrote:
loan_star wrote:
darloboss wrote:
A “TRASHY” television programme threatens to exploit people in Stockton, both the town’s MPs has warned.

not half as much as the torys have exploited people
People on these programmes wont work no matter who is in charge, they will find some excuse to keep sponging off the state. They were probably already on benefits when Brown was still in charge.
Although if they get paid to be on the programme aren't they technically working?
Therefore should not be claiming benefits as they would be earning, making the programme a lie...?
[quote][p][bold]John Durham[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]loan_star[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]darloboss[/bold] wrote: A “TRASHY” television programme threatens to exploit people in Stockton, both the town’s MPs has warned. not half as much as the torys have exploited people[/p][/quote]People on these programmes wont work no matter who is in charge, they will find some excuse to keep sponging off the state. They were probably already on benefits when Brown was still in charge.[/p][/quote]Although if they get paid to be on the programme aren't they technically working?[/p][/quote]Therefore should not be claiming benefits as they would be earning, making the programme a lie...? Time-Traveller
  • Score: -2

3:56pm Tue 15 Apr 14

st-george1 says...

It’s all so like the Pay-Day loan companies who rely on the naïve people believing the childish notion that cash is easy to come by … we know, we’ve seen and heard about how easy it is for benefit claimants and fraudsters who have already been groomed by a totally dishonourable group of 3rd rate TV programmer-people masquerading as some kind of Social Security Santa’s, whilst the Labour Party agents take the MORAL high-ground and do little or nothing, a bit like the the Japanese knotweed which is highly destructive and a very devil to get rid off !
It’s all so like the Pay-Day loan companies who rely on the naïve people believing the childish notion that cash is easy to come by … we know, we’ve seen and heard about how easy it is for benefit claimants and fraudsters who have already been groomed by a totally dishonourable group of 3rd rate TV programmer-people masquerading as some kind of Social Security Santa’s, whilst the Labour Party agents take the MORAL high-ground and do little or nothing, a bit like the the Japanese knotweed which is highly destructive and a very devil to get rid off ! st-george1
  • Score: 0

8:13pm Tue 15 Apr 14

Jackaranda says...

Ally F says...
It's exploitation pure and simple - clever and educated people scheming to exploit simple, vulnerable and uneducated people for the benefit of mass entertainment. Nothing more than a modern day freak show for the silver screen.

Yes, they did the same with the caravan dwelling inbreds!!
Ally F says... It's exploitation pure and simple - clever and educated people scheming to exploit simple, vulnerable and uneducated people for the benefit of mass entertainment. Nothing more than a modern day freak show for the silver screen. Yes, they did the same with the caravan dwelling inbreds!! Jackaranda
  • Score: 2

8:15pm Tue 15 Apr 14

behonest says...

They're one year too early. When Stockton South reverts to Labour next year, it will rapidly go downhill again and be a much more appropriate location for a trash TV programme like this.
They're one year too early. When Stockton South reverts to Labour next year, it will rapidly go downhill again and be a much more appropriate location for a trash TV programme like this. behonest
  • Score: 0

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