Benefits Street: A look back at the controversial show

James Turner Street Credit: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

The first episode of 'Benefits Street' was aired on 6 January 2014. The following morning police announced that they were reviewing footage captured by the programme's makers following a series of complaints. That was the first of many talking points raised by the controversial show.

Within a week of the first episode being aired, nearly 30,000 people had signed a petition calling for Channel 4 to stop broadcasting the series. Despite the petition going on to be signed by around 60,000 people - it was ultimately unsuccessful.

It also emerged that participants in the series were told that the show was 'about community'.

Further questions were asked after a decision was made not to air an episode of the show featuring a working couple. There were some suggestions that those chosen to appear on the show were not representative of James Turner Street as a whole.

YouGov allows users to give their opinions on a variety of subjects Credit: YouGov

By January 15, 'Benefits Street' had become a major talking point across the country; with Prime Minister David Cameron claiming that 'there is a street like (James Turner Street) in every constituency'.

The show was mentioned in the House of Commons and discussed extensively on Twitter and other social networking sites. Footballer Joey Barton caused controversy after a series of Tweets discussing the show.

The next day Channel 4 announced that there would be a special episode of the show addressing concerns raised in the media. The 30 minute special would be followed by a live debate that would aim to 'shine a spotlight on the range of issues brought to the fore by Benefits Street'.

There are 99 homes on James Turner Street - the vast majority of which receive some form of benefits Credit: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

Some Key Facts

  • Produced by Love Productions and Broadcast by Channel 4

  • Follows a number of residents of James Turner Street in Birmingham

  • Culminated in a live debate featuring MP's, journalists and residents of JTS

  • Mentioned in Parliament

  • Lead to questions about welfare dependency

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