A criminal gang threatened to throw acid and chop the fingers off of a film crew working on Channel 4’s documentary Immigration Street, according to one of the programme’s producers.
Kieran Smith, factual creative director of Love Productions, says in this week’s issue of Radio Times that his team were forced to cut short filming in Southampton after threats. He adds that the decision was not influenced by a local campaign against the documentary, which protested outside Channel 4’s headquarters earlier this month.
Smith explains it “had nothing to do with the campaign” but came after “physical intimidation from a criminal gang that didn’t want us there to film their activities.” He says: “They threw rocks and eggs at the crew. People were threatened with having acid thrown over them, and having their fingers chopped off.”
The curtailing of filming has forced Channel 4 to shelve its original plans for a six-part series. Instead, the broadcaster will only be showing a one-hour special on Tuesday 24th February at 10pm.
Immigration Street was meant to document life in a “multicultural community” in Southampton, with filming taking place around Derby Road. The campaign led by local politicians challenged whether the programme would be an accurate reflection of life on the street, following the backlash over Love Productions’ previous Channel 4 series Benefits Street.
Channel 4’s head of factual programming Ralph Lee said last Friday: “Going into this general election immigration is one of the most hotly contested issues and one we think it’s vital to present a range of viewpoints on.
“In filming Immigration Street the strength of feeling around the issue became apparent not just with the many local people who wanted to tell their stories in the film but also the impassioned response of those opposing it,” he added.
Real the full story in this week’s Radio Times, available in newsagents and on the Apple Newsstand from Tuesday 17 February.
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