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Benefits Street backlash lacked ‘proper campaign’

The first series of People Like Us was a ratings hit The first series of People Like Us was a ratings hit

Manchester Council’s Pat Karney claims Birmingham failed to get the controversial Benefits Street programme taken off air because of a lack of a ‘proper campaign locally’.

In an interview with the Manchester Evening News he talks about his action against a similar reality television series, the People Like Us series on BBC Three filmed in Harpurhey.

It received a similar public reaction to the recent furore over the Channel 4 Benefits Street programme as it followed the lives of residents of one street.

At the time, programme makers were accused by Harpurhey community leaders of depicting the area as an ‘urban hell-hole’ after repeated references to alcohol, drugs and benefits.

The show was a ratings smash for the channel – pulling in more than one million viewers but more than 1,000 residents signed a petition calling for the broadcaster not to film another series in Harpurhey.

In the gentle interview – in which the MEN describes him as ‘Mr Media’ – Karney explains his travel expenses and the journeys undertaken as part of the campaign.

“The trip to London was ‘worth every penny’ to get People Like Us axed, he said, adding: ‘We stopped the programme, unlike Benefits Street, where there wasn’t a proper campaign locally’.”

The full interview can be read here.

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