COMMUNITY leaders and residents today rallied in defence of Southampton following a controversial TV show which they feel tainted the city's reputation.

The anxiously awaited Immigration Street programme aired last night - ten months after plans to film in Derby Road were first revealed, sparking protests from angry residents who feared it would damage their close knit community.

Daily Echo:

Last night those behind the one off episode for Channel Four insisted they felt it was a “fair representation and reflection” of the lives of those living in the area.

But MPs, councillors and residents themselves have insisted they are wrong, at the same time uniting in condemnation for the mindless yobs who threatened or used violence.

Their frustrations came as Hampshire police renewed their offer to Channel 4 to report any offences they feel were committed against film crews in the making of the programme so that they could be investigated.

So far, no allegations have been brought to the attention of officers, the force said.

City MP Alan Whitehead led the criticism that Southampton had been misrepresented by the level of violence alleged in the documentary.

While viewers heard and saw a man threatening TV crews that they would be shot unless they left, producers also spoke of further violence that was levelled against them.

They also made claims they were intimidated, had demands made of them for £200,000 to ensure their safety and say they were forced to bring in extra security to keep their staff out of danger.

Dr Whitehead, pictured below, who represents Southampton Test, said: “That's not the real Southampton.

“That's not representative of even half a per cent of the hard-working and reasoned opposition to the programme from residents, and it certainly doesn't represent the city either.

“That is not our city.”

His views were echoed by Southampton's city council leader Simon Letts who said: “I don't think anyone would applaud the throwing of eggs and the other activities, there's a way of opposing things without resorting to violence.

“It is however a small minority - it's not our city.”

Daily Echo: Southampton Test MP Alan WhiteheadAlan Whitehead

Satvir Kaur, a city councillor and cabinet member for communities who lives in Oxford Avenue, said: "I think it is quite disappointing that they made themselves out to be a victim when actually this community was the victim.

"They linked crime and violence with this community. Not once did they report that to the police. None of us in the community condone that violence. They basically just showed that they value good TV over community safety."

Royston Smith, Conservative opposition leader, said: “A few weeks ago we all rightly stood as one with the victims of the Charlie Hebdo tragedy in Paris.

“'Je Suis Charlie' became the international slogan of solidarity.

“Southampton is more than the programme Immigration Street and we all know that.

“We must all stand together - 'Je Suis Southampton, I am Southampton'.”

Rashid Brora, secretary of the Medina Mosque and a member of the Southampton Council of Faiths, described the film as a “non-event” and added “I don't agree with the violence because that is not what this area is about.

Daily Echo: Satvir KaurCllr Satvir Kaur

A spokesman for Channel 4 said: “We felt the programme in its entirety was a fair representation and reflection of the lives of the individuals on the streets.

“If we had had the opportunity to film all six episodes obviously we would have shown more people and more different aspects of life on Derby Road.

“We are not saying in any way that this individual is in any way representative of the vast majority who live in the street.”