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C4 to air Benefits Street debate show after final episode

C4 to air Benefits Street debate show after final episode
Pippa Considine
16 January 2014

Mentorn Media, producer of the BBC's Question Time, is to produce an hour-long debate around the issues brought to the fore by controversial observational documentary series Benefits Street.

The debate show will air directly after the last of the five episodes of the series, at 10pm on Monday 10th February.

Commissioned by Channel 4 head of factual Ralph Lee, the discussion will be live and interactive, allowing viewers to submit questions. It will be chaired by broadcaster Richard Bacon. The panellists will be confirmed closer to transmission but will represent the views across the political spectrum, including those who claim benefits.

The Love Productions series, filmed over the course of 12 months, documents the reality of life on a street in Birmingham where the majority of households are dependent on benefits and in an area of Birmingham that has had the highest rate of unemployment in the country for the last eight years. The series, which has drawn around five million viewers, has led to a media storm, generating tens of thousands of responses on Twitter, press headlines and questions raised in parliament.

Lee says: “This is a series which reflects the reality of day-to-day life for some of the residents of a single street who, for the most part, rely on benefits to survive. It does not and never has set out to reflect the experiences of every person who receives benefits yet it has triggered a national debate about state welfare at a time in which further welfare reforms are being proposed. We feel it is timely to provide a forum in which these issues can be raised and discussed.”

Executive producer for Mentorn Media is the company's director of current affairs Hayley Valentine.

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