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What the Benefits Street cast did next

IT was the infamous show that gave viewers an unrestricted glimpse into living below the poverty line for dwellers on an ordinary street in Birmingham.

But now Benefits Street’s best-known face, Deirdre Kelly – known as White Dee – has claimed the producers “exploited” those who appeared on the show, making them feel “hung up” when the cameras stopped to roll.

Deirdre Kelly aka White Dee said the Benefits Street cast was left out to dry

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Deirdre Kelly aka White Dee said the Benefits Street cast was left out to dryPhoto credit: Simon Jones – The Sun
The documentary became an infamous hit in 2014 when it aired on Channel 4

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The documentary became an infamous hit in 2014 when it aired on Channel 4Photo credit: Channel 4

Dee, 50, has claimed Love Productions and Channel 4 “didn’t provide any support” after the series ended in 2015.

The mother-of-two told BirminghamLive: “We just had to deal with the aftermath.”

She added how life has been turned upside down since then and that “a lot of people who were on the show were really struggling.”

From arrests to tragic deaths, we take a look at what James Turner Street residents did next.

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White Dee

Dee became a minor celebrity after the show and went on to Celebrity Big Brother

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Dee became a minor celebrity after the show and went on to Celebrity Big Brother

After the show aired, Dee appeared in televised debates and was asked to speak at the Conservative Party conference.

In 2014 she appeared on Celebrity Big Brother for which she was reportedly paid around £50,000.

She even appeared on The Jeremy Kyle Show before being axed to reveal fame didn’t make her rich – and admitted she tried to kill herself.

She revealed on the show that she suffered from vile trolling about her mixed-race children, Caitlin and Gerrard.

She said: “I have never experienced racial abuse in my life until … [the show started].

“And some of the threats against me and some of my children because of the color of their skin were disgusting.”

Dee later moved from James Turner Street to nearby Handsworth, which she says is one of her biggest regrets.

She previously said: “The show ripped my life apart back then.

“It changed my life forever and destroyed the James Turner Street I knew before the show.”

Black Dee

Samora Robeerts, aka Black Dee, has been sentenced to seven years in prison for a crack cocaine arrest

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Samora Robeerts, aka Black Dee, has been sentenced to seven years in prison for a crack cocaine arrestCredit: Newsteam/BPM Media

Samora Roberts – also known as Black Dee – was sentenced to seven years in prison in January 2016 for possession of live ammunition and crack cocaine with intent to supply them.

But this was not the first time that the 37-year-old had trouble with the police.

She was originally arrested in June 2013 when police raids on her home found .38 caliber Smith and Wesson cartridges.

The bullets were hidden in a shoe in a laundry basket at her home.

Samora was one of the first Benefits Street residents to attack Channel 4 producers for “exploiting” local people.

She had a public falling out with former pal White Dee, claiming she was a “sell out” for appearing on Celebrity Big Brother.

Smoggy AKA 50p man

Smoggy almost landed a £10,000 deal to open a Poundland rival but he fell through

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Smoggy almost landed a £10,000 deal to open a Poundland rival but he fell throughPhoto credit: Channel 4

Doorstep salesman Smoggy, real name Stephen Smith, was affectionately nicknamed the “50p Man” after selling bargain-priced home goods to residents of Benefits Street.

His entrepreneurial spirit caught the eye of millionaire Charlie Mullins, who offered him a £10,000 deal to open a 50p discount store for rival Poundland.

Unfortunately, they failed and the deal didn’t materialize.

Charlie claimed Smoggy could have become a millionaire and blamed the deal’s failure on “bad advice from people around him”.

Stephen previously spent four months in Winson Green Prison in Birmingham in 2010.

Sherell Dillion

Sherrell Dillion realized her dream of becoming a runway model

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Sherrell Dillion realized her dream of becoming a runway modelPhoto Credit: Channel 4/Instagram
Sherrell was even featured in a Big Narstie music video

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Sherrell was even featured in a Big Narstie music videoCredit: Instagram/@sherrell_sb_model

Sherrell Dillion, known as SB, was spotted on the show trying to launch her modeling career while being a single mother of two — and she actually succeeded.

Sherrell has modeled all over the world and even appeared in a Big Narstie music video.

She told Birmingham Live last year: “I got some really good attention from my performance on Benefits Street. I think people could see that as a single mom I was doing my best trying to build a career in modeling.

“It took a lot of hard work and dedication but I got my break and before lockdown I was traveling abroad doing modeling jobs.

“I’ve modeled in London, Paris and Milan. I’ve modeled at London Pacific Fashion Week and been a model at the Black Hair Awards, which was one of my favorite jobs.

“Before lockdown, I also appeared in several music videos, including a video with rapper Big Narstie. It was so much fun.”

James “Fungi” Clarke

James

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James “Fungi” Clarke sadly died of a drug overdose

Former crack cocaine addict James ‘Fungi’ Clarke moved to Cardiff to avoid the attention he received after Benefits Street aired.

Still battling alcohol and drug addictions, one fan later paid £12,000 for him to go to rehab.

James signed with agent Barry Tomes, who had also represented White Dee, and attended a magazine shoot to show off his new look.

However, Barry ended their professional relationship three months later, saying James was “off the planet”.

Then, tragically, on July 1, 2019, it was reported that James had died at the age of 50 from a heart attack apparently caused by a drug overdose.

He had spent his last months living in a home for recovering drug addicts in Birmingham and drinking up to five liters of cider a day.

Lee Nutley

Sadly, Lee Nutley also died after Benefits Street aired

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Sadly, Lee Nutley also died after Benefits Street airedPhoto credit: Channel 4

Star colleague Lee Nutley was also found dead in October 2016.

His body was discovered by an ambulance crew at a home in Stockton where the program’s second season was filming.

Lee suffered from a number of health problems in the years leading up to his death, including epilepsy and heroin addiction, but was thought to have been trying to get his life back on track.

Mark Thomas and Becky Howe

Mark Thomas and Becky Howe finally got jobs after Benefits Street aired

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Mark Thomas and Becky Howe finally got jobs after Benefits Street airedPhoto credit: Channel 4

Mark Thomas, 29, has never had a full-time job and got into trouble after bragging about rigging his benefits.

But a month after filming wrapped, he got a laborer’s job and he and his partner Becky Howe, also 29, stopped complaining.

She and her young children moved away after the show aired, but didn’t tell their neighbors their new address.

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In 2019, neighbor Anna Korzen said: “At first they seemed to enjoy the attention, but I think it got to be too much for them.

“They left six months ago but didn’t say where.”

https://www.thesun.co.uk/tvandshowbiz/18015602/benefits-street-now-dead-arrested-drugs-white-dee/ What the Benefits Street cast did next

Ashley

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