When it comes to the debate about whether Channel 4 is guilty of making so-called “poverty porn” with its smash hit series Benefits Street, it is clear which side some people in Grimsby take.
Because the residents of the seaside town have compiled a petition objecting to the channel’s interest in filming the second series of Skint, its observational documentary about impoverished Britain, in their neighbourhood.
More than 500 people have signed the petition, which reads: “We do not want these shows filmed in the area… especially when the town is working hard to bring jobs to the area”.
The first series of Skint last year ruffled feathers in nearby Scunthorpe, where drug users and benefits claimants were filmed.
Channel 4’s portrayal of Birmingham’s James Turner Street in Benefits Street has also led to accusations of “poverty porn”, with hundreds of complaints to the media regulator Ofcom.
The show has been a smash ratings hit with its viewing haul growing to 5.2 million viewers for last night’s episode.
Channel 4 declined to disclose how many other locations for Skint it was looking at apart from Grimsby and issued a statement which read: “We are currently exploring possible settings for a second series of Skint. As part of our research, our teams are filming with potential contributors in various locations across the UK including Grimsby however we are not yet in a position to confirm final locations.
“Skint is an observational documentary and as with the first series, will look at a group of people in an area which is still feeling the effects of de-industrialization, and where many are experiencing long-term unemployment. The aim is to tell their stories honestly, with compassion and warmth. It is made by award-winning production company Keo Films.”
Ben has worked as a professional journalist specialising in TV and the arts for nearly twenty years. After a two year stint on local newspapers in the mid 1990s, he spent more than 5 years as the broadcast reporter at the Stage newspaper. Following that he enjoyed staff reporting positions at the Sunday Mirror and the Sunday Times breaking stories and writing features before settling as a full time freelance writing for an array of newspapers and magazines - but mainly for the Guardian, Evening Standard, Broadcast, Independent and the New Statesman where he wrote a column.