FILMMAKERS of a controversial television documentary revealed last night that they are considering ditching the title Immigration Street in a bid to win over angry residents.
At a private meeting last night with a handful of selected members of the St Mary’s community, producers of the sequel to Benefits Street asked how people would feel if the show was renamed Derby Road.
Possibility Creative director from Love Productions Kieron Smith raised the possibility as they work to try and ease the tensions within the community over their filming in the area.
However, their suggestion was not welcomed by some of those at the meeting who were left furious that the producers believed a simple name change was the solution to the issues raised by the programme.
One community representative who was at the meeting, but wished to remain anonymous, said: “They are not getting the message. The majority of the community do not want them filming here, no matter what the name of the programme.
“That won’t change anything. There is a real fear in the community of the repercussions this programme will have.”
The decision to hold a private meeting, in which just eight community representatives attended and five people from Love Productions, had already sparked outrage.
Newtown Residents Association decided to boycott the meeting after several leading Derby Road figures, including Southampton City Councillor Satvir Kaur were snubbed.
Vice-chairman of the association, which represents 3,000 residents in St Mary’s, Pat O’Dell said: “It wouldn’t be productive to make arrangements without the community being involved. We can’t make decisions with them being there.
“It has to be all open and above board, not behind closed doors so that there is no comeback. We have got to be open and honest. The people deserve that, it’s their lives we are talking about.”
No representative of the Southampton Council of Faiths, whose committee members represent the major faiths in St Mary’s, was able to attend.
A spokesman for Channel 4 said last night’s meeting would still go ahead at the Holiday Inn in Western Boulevard but would provide no further comment.
Backlash Filming for Immigration Street has been under way for more than a month but already there has been a backlash against the production with members of the crew getting pelted with eggs and flour in Derby Road.
Last month the residents association called a heated meeting at Maytree School where residents voiced their opposition to the documentary.
The programme will be aired next year.