1. ITV Report

TV show 'Skint' not going down well in Valleys

Photo: ITV News

People living in Merthyr Tydfil have hit out at the latest national television series, which they say gives their town a bad name.

'Skint', which is broadcast by Channel 4, follows the experiences of a group of people stuck in the poverty trap.

But critics say it exploits vulnerable members of their society, and creates 'cheap entertainment' from their plight.

Our Valleys Correspondent Hannah Thomas has been looking at the reaction it's got in her hometown.

ITV Wales News' Hannah Thomas.

ITV Wales' Valleys Correspondent, Hannah Thomas personal reaction to Skint:

There's nowhere quite like Merthyr Tydfil. My home. My town. It was once the iron capital of the world, before it found itself at the heart of mining and manufacturing. But the loss of industry has left many of our Valley communities in poverty and deprivation.

Some think it's a good idea to make a programme with people now struggling to survive. Forget the General Election, 'Channel 4's 'Skint' series has become the talk of the town.

Since the first episode aired last week, it's all I've heard. The broadcaster says its an "observational documentary strand following the experiences of a group of people still feeling the effects of de-industrialisation".

Others have praised the producers for highlighting issues that need to be addressed. I can see a bit of both. We can't hide from reality - there are people suffering in our area.

But then that's the same across parts of ANY town in the country. And that's what's got many people's people's back up here. This isn't the first programme to focus on Merthyr. There have been others. And they feel we've been chosen as the easy target again. Have they got a point? Of course there is another argument, that perhaps these families are in the minority.

Forget the figures, there are plenty of people in Merthyr with qualifications, a job, and respect for the town they live in. I'm one. So I have mixed views on Skint. But what I am sure about, is the pride I have for the town I was born in. In fact, I'm writing this at the ITV Wales offices in Cardiff Bay. And some have often asked me why I've never moved down here. But no chance. You'll never get this girl out of Merthyr Tydfil."