‘Benefits Street’ Stars Plan to Sue Channel 4: ‘They Tricked Us’

January 6, 2014 Updated: July 18, 2015

“Benefits Street” stars plan to sue Channel 4 because producers of the show tricked them, the stars say. 

The five-part documentary follows people who receive government benefits.

“This documentary series reveals the reality of life on benefits, as the residents of one of Britain’s most benefit-dependent streets invite cameras into their tight-knit community,” Channel 4 says in a show description.

It first aired on January 6; the next part is slated for January 13 at 9 p.m. The second episode is said to reveal “the reality of life on benefits.”

But the people featured in the show–who live on James Turner street in Birmingham, England, where 90 percent of the families rely on benefits–say that they were misled by Love Productions, who told them the documentary was going to be about “community spirit.”

Some people on the street make up to £900 a month ($1,475) in benefits. 

“It makes people out as complete scum,” Dee Roberts, 32, unemployed and on benefits, told the Daily Star. 

“They said they wanted to film for a TV show about how great community spirit is in the street and how we all help each other out. I participated in the show on that belief. But it has nothing to do with community. It’s all about people in the street living off benefits, taking drugs and dossing around all day. They lied to us from the very beginning.”

Roberts said a group of people on the show are seeking lawyers to help them take action against the production company.

Charlene WIlson, 29 and a mother of three, added that “They told me it was about living as a community.

“If they had said it was about benefits and making the street look bad I would not have taken part. They tricked us.”

Mark Thomas and Becky Howe, a couple who are both unemployed, receive £750 ($1,229) a month in benefits.

They said they have been disowned by their families because of the show.

Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber
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