Alan Whitehead MP

Member of Parliament for Southampton Test

Immigration Street

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You may have heard a lot of things flying around about a TV series being filmed in my constituency called Immigration Street. I wanted to give you a background about what has been happening with the programme and what actions I have taken.  

I wrote to residents on Derby Road and surrounding roads a few months back to let them know about the proposed filming of a series entitled ‘Immigration Street’ on Derby Road, and being made by the same company, Love Productions, which made the controversial TV series ‘Benefits street’.

I asked the residents for their views on the proposed programme and whether they felt it would have repercussions for the area. Over 95% of the people we received replies from were opposed to the filming of the programme and were worried how their area and community would be portrayed. 

I met the commissioning team at Channel Four and passed on the various views expressed to me. I also urged them to consider the repercussions such a programme would have on the community before commissioning this misconceived idea. I am sorry to report that despite my best efforts, the programme has been commissioned and that filming for the series is now under way. The production team has also widened the focus of the filming to include the surrounding area.

I know that this will place residents in a difficult position, and I am anxious to continue to give them my support in whatever way I can.

There was a community meeting held on Tuesday 22nd July, at Maytree School in Derby Road to discuss ‘Immigration Street’ and how best the community can respond. Kieran Smith from Love Productions attended and was told in no uncertain terms by the 200 or so people in the room that the programme is not wanted.

Unfortunately, he gave no commitment to residents that the programme wouldn’t be filmed.

The community has now taken action and residents have printed various signs saying “Immigration Street, not wanted here” and “Go away Love Productions and Channel 4”. These are now visible in various local shops and businesses in the Derby Road area.

Recently “White Dee” the star of Benefits Street met with Derby Road residents to tell them that it would be a “mistake” to get involved with the production company and that it would ruin their area.

If you live in the area, I want to assure you that you do not have to participate in the programme, or even have to accept being filmed as you go about your life. You can insist to any filming crew that no image of you is to be used in the programme, and they will legally have to remove you from any footage that they use. Even if you have previously agreed to being filmed you can retract your permission for the footage to be used.

I will continue to work with community in opposing this programme and I hope that Love Productions and Channel 4 will realise the damage this series will do to the Derby Road community and scrap the programme. 

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