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Immigration Street crew deny offering "bribes" to residents
THE team behind a controversial TV documentary being filmed in Southampton have denied offering “bribes” to residents to get them to take part in the show.
A production crew has been filming in St Mary's for a planned sequel to Channel 4 show Benefits Street, which could be called Immigration Street.
The Daily Echo understands that some residents in Derby Road, where it is being filmed, have been approached by the production company offering to pay for takeaways or their laundry to take part.
But a spokesman for Channel 4 has denied that anything has been offered to residents in order for them to film them.
As revealed in yesterday's Daily Echo, Love Productions has approached people living in the street to take part in a new documentary focusing on immigration in Southampton.
The firm's Benefit Street production proved highly controversial when it aired last year, with some criticising it for its portrayal of the residents of a street in Birmingham.
Channel 4 defended the production as a “fair and balanced observational documentary” which gave a “humane and objective portrayal of how people are coping with continuing austerity and cuts in benefits.”
After Love Productions started filming in Southampton, city leaders, including council boss Simon Letts, said they didn't want the documentary to be filmed in the city.
He expressed his concern that it could negatively affect race relations, while city MP Alan Whitehead voiced concerns it would follow a set script as opposed to accurately portraying reality.David Bane, secretary of the Southampton Council of Faiths, told the Daily Echo some people have been contacted by the company, who have offered to pay for their laundry, while the Echo has been also been told that takeaways have been offered.
But a spokesman for Channel 4 said: “Contributors would not be paid to take part in a documentary series such as this, other than small out of pocket expenses, for example electricity used during filming.
“We strongly refute any suggestion that any resident of Derby Road has been offered bribes or gifts on condition of filming them.
“Any filming the team have done would follow strict protocols in accordance with the Ofcom Broadcasting Code.”
It is understood the company will return to the city to do more filming for a pilot episode.
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