Love Productions has struck gold. Channel 4’s highest rated programme for over a year, Benefits Street also has the nation up in arms.

Meanwhile, the production company, also behind The Great Bake Off, has revealed an enviable turnover for an independent producer of factual shows.

Benefits Street saw just over 5 million viewers watching last night’s show; it’s not often that C4 is the highest rating channel at 9pm.

This is a jump from last week’s ratings, which topped four million for the opening episode of the five-part series. Its consolidated ratings were closer to seven million.

The programme, which follows the lives of residents of Birmingham’s James Turner Street, is turning out to be Channel 4’s highest rating programme for over a year.

It has also proved hugely controversial, sparking the equivalent of a twitter riot, protests across the media and in three D, with much banner waving outside Love Production’s London offices earlier this week.

In an interview in The Guardian at the weekend, Love Productions creative director Richard McKerrow asked viewers to judge the series as a whole, across the five episodes, each of which tackles a different aspect of lives in the street. 

McKerrow also suggested that there was no system of aftercare for the subjects of reality TV shows. Benefits Street has not only kicked up a media storm, but led to several residents being investigated for fraud.

Meanwhile, Love Productions is reporting a turnover of £13m, with profits at £1.4m, up 25 per cent on the previous year. Income is rising as viewers of The Great British Bake Off across the world are inspired to make cupcakes and bake fruit bread.

It is surely a factual TV producer’s dream: creating huge talking point TV, as well as entertaining audiences round the world and making some money.

Can’t resist it…..What’s not to Love?

Pippa Considine

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