The Benefits Estate

The Benefits Estate

Series 1 - Episode 1



Channel 5 has been criticised for documentaries about people on benefits that sought out the most extreme, least deserving cases. This two-parter, filmed in the vast Darndale estate on the edge of Dublin and first shown in Ireland last year, could conceivably have been planned as an antidote to those programmes: in the first episode at least, it’s at pains to present its subjects as conscientious, warm-hearted people, struggling not just with poverty but with problems that a casual dismissal would overlook.

The main stories are a father of three working hard to get off heroin, and a young man with a passion for horses who has turned a patch of wasteground into a makeshift stables.


Part one of two. Observational documentary following a year in the life of the residents of Darndale in north Dublin, one of Ireland's most notorious housing estates. Single mum Angelique reveals the social problems created by the alleyways and narrow cul-de-sacs, Noel anxiously awaits a place on a drug-treatment programme and street sweeper Tommy organises a Strictly Come Dancing-inspired fundraiser for the impoverished Darndale Football Club.

Cast & Crew

Director Matt Leigh
Director Katie Lincoln
Executive Producer Owen McCardle
Producer Yvonne Kinsella
Series Producer Anne McLoughlin
Series Producer Jamie D'Alton
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Documentary Current Affairs