Benefits Street ‘defies call to stay away’

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A council leader has said the makers of controversial reality TV show Benefits Street have ignored pleas to stay away from his town.

Filming for the second series of the Channel 4 show has begun in Kingston Road, Stockton, Teesside, despite opposition from local MPs, residents’ groups and the local authority.

The first series of Benefits Street made a star of Deirdre Kelly, better known as White Dee, who is currently appearing in Celebrity Big Brother.

Filmed in James Turner Street, Winson Green, Birmingham, it set out to depict a close-knit community where many of the residents received benefits.

Critics of the show claimed it exploited the participants and branded it “poverty porn”. Ofcom received 900 complaints about the shows but it cleared the broadcaster of breaching any rules.

Stockton Council leader Bob Cook is concerned the show will damage his town.