Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Campaign to stop Immigration Street filming in Southampton

Derby Road in Southampton
Image caption Filming on the follow-up to Benefits Street began in the Bevois area of Southampton eight weeks ago

A campaign has begun to stop a TV production company from filming a new series on immigration in an area of Southampton.

Channel 4 has confirmed Immigration Street – a follow-up to Benefits Street – is being filmed in Derby Road.

At a meeting organised by Newtown Residents' Association (NRA) on Tuesday, residents were urged to refuse to co-operate.

Producer Love Productions said it was not aiming to cause division.

Benefits Street was a big hit for Channel 4 but was criticised for its portrayal of people living in poverty.

Image caption Resident Nazrul Chaudhery (left) and Kieran Smith, from the production firm, addressed the meeting

Derby Road residents have raised concerns about how the show will portray immigration and stigmatise the area.

More than 100 people attended the heated meeting at the Maytree Nursery and Infant School.

Nazrul Chaudhery, chairman of the NRA, said people were concerned about being labelled.

He said: "It doesn't matter who goes on it, you'll be labelled as immigrant or something in that way."

Image copyright Presser
Image caption Benefits Street was criticised for its portrayal of people living in poverty

Labour MP Alan Whitehead, whose constituency includes Derby Road, said: "I think the show is fundamentally misconceived.

"I think it's quite wrong that a company sticks a pin in the map and says 'that's Immigration Street', regardless of the reality of the area, and then does a programme on it. I think they should think again and I hope they will."

Kieran Smith, creative director of Love Productions, told the meeting: "We would never come and film a series in order to cause division, or where there is harmony, cause disharmony.

"We're here to film for six to seven months the lives of the residents of Derby Road.

"We're on Derby Road because it's an incredibly diverse street with a history of immigration.

"Just like on Benefits Street - the reason we were there was because there were a lot of benefits claimants there - but then the programme became about other themes."

Filming began eight weeks ago and more than 30 people have already been interviewed for the series, which is due to be broadcast next year.

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