Entertainment

Benefit Street’s White Dee claims council housing tenants have been “exploited” and “hung” by Channel 4’s documentary

A WOMAN who appeared on Channel 4’s infamous ‘Benefits Street’ series claims the program’s creators ‘exploited’ those who appeared on the show.

Dee Kelly – who was known as White Dee – also claims residents were “hung out to dry” when cameras stopped rolling.

Dee says channel 4 "exploited" stars from the show and hung them out to dry after filming

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Dee says Channel 4 “exploited” stars from the show and hung them out to dry after filmingPhoto credit: Simon Jones – The Sun
Benefits Street aired in January 2014 and became a national talking point

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Benefits Street aired in January 2014 and became a national talking pointPhoto credit: SWNS

Benefits Street was broadcast on Channel 4 in January 2014 and gave a glimpse into the lives of ordinary residents living on the poverty line in James Turner Street, Winson Green, Birmingham.

It was an instant hit among Brits – it drew widespread attention to the show’s stars as well as a close scrutiny of Britain’s welfare system.

But White Dee – real name Deirdre Kelly – now says Love Productions and Channel 4 provided “no support” after the show ended.

Her comments follow a Channel 4 documentary which criticized ITV’s Jeremy Kyle show after a guest committed suicide shortly after it appeared.

Benefits Street White Dee's daughter Caitlin is an adult six years after the exhibition
White Dee says Benefits Street

Dee told BirminghamLive: “When it aired there was an explosion on Benefits Street and we were on the front page of a lot of national newspapers.

“If you talk about support and follow-up, there simply wasn’t any.

“There was no support during manufacture and there was certainly no aftercare.

“We were exploited and left to our own devices, hung out to dry.”

Dee said that despite the stars being “slated for welfare payments,” none of the show makers “have told us how to go about it.”

“We just had to deal with the aftermath of the show,” the mother-of-two claimed.

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.”

Dee – mother to Caitlin and Gerrard – moved from James Turner Street to nearby Handsworth shortly after the show.

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.”

“Psychological support was offered to all cast members during filming, broadcast and beyond

Channel 4 announcer

She later appeared in televised debates and was asked to speak at the Conservative Party convention.

In 2014 she appeared on Celebrity Big Brother.

Channel 4 denies Dee’s claims, saying: “Psychological support was offered to all those cast on the show during filming, during the broadcast and beyond.

“It discussed the likelihood of criticism and uncomfortable comments on social media.

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“All contributors received guidance on how to use online communities and social media. Following the unprecedented media attention, production executives returned to Birmingham to provide ongoing support to the cast throughout the broadcast.

“The close contact and support continued beyond the broadcast.”

Dee was a central figure on the show and now speaks out against Channel 4

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Dee was a central figure on the show and now speaks out against Channel 4Photo credit: Channel 4
The show's creators deny leaving the characters alone to deal with the attention

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The show’s creators deny leaving the characters alone to deal with the attentionPhoto credit: Paul Tonge – The Sun
Dee's former home was a centerpiece of the show

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Dee’s former home was a centerpiece of the showPhoto credit: Brad Wakefield – The Sun

https://www.thesun.co.uk/tvandshowbiz/18007861/white-dee-benefits-street-stars-exploited-by-channel-4/ Benefit Street’s White Dee claims council housing tenants have been “exploited” and “hung” by Channel 4’s documentary

Ashley

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