Britain Poverty TV

January 23, 2014 - 3:33 AM
In this photo provided by Channel 4 on Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2013, 'White Dee' featured in the show Benefits Street, poses for a promotional still. The stars of Britain’s most talked-about television show have a dubious claim to fame: They don’t work. A shoplifter running away from police, a recovering drug addict and a ragtag band of jobless people are the unlikely stars of “Benefits Street,” a hit documentary-style program about welfare receipients that has drawn millions of viewers and stirred up a furious storm of complaints and controversy in Britain. Critics say the show _ which zooms in on the residents of a Birmingham street where 9 out of 10 people are said to live off state payouts _ is designed to fan hatred by showing people on the dole in the worst possible light. Scores of viewers took to Twitter to vent abuse at the residents as soon as the first episode aired earlier this month, and some even made death threats. (AP Photo/Channel 4, Richard Ansett)