Channel 4 has recently come in for some flack over its portrayal of the residents of James Turner Street, Birmingham, for the programme Benefits Street. The programme was commissioned by the not-for-profit broadcaster from production company Love Productions. Residents of the street complained they were duped in to appearing in the programme after being told it was going to be about community spirit against a backdrop of financial adversity – only to be cast as feckless job-dodgers.
Now, the broadcaster has come in for further criticism, this time from the residents of the Aylesbury Estate in south East London.
You may not have heard of the estate, but you’re more than likely to recognise it; for the last 10 years, it has been used as the location for a Channel 4 ident. As the camera tracks down rubbish-strewn balconies, other balconies and floating concrete structures shift to in to place forming the shape of the Channel 4 logo. Usually, this is played while a voiceover describing the forthcoming programme is aired.
Residents of the Aylesbury Estate have complained that the washing lines, satellite dishes and rubbish-filled trolley were all placed there by producers and while the media has been keen to speak to those living on Benefits Street, the residents of the Aylesbury Estate have had no right of reply for the last decade. Until now.
The Guardian has teamed up with film maker Nick Street to record an alternative ident which celebrates the residents of the estate, whom once Tony Blair described as ‘the forgotten people’.
The video is being used to front a campaign to get Channel 4 to change the ident and improve the image of the estate, which is home to 7,500 residents. This is being spearheaded by the Creation Trust, a charity within the estate, which is asking people to sign a petition and tweet about the issue using the hashtag #ChangeTheIdent.
View the video below and tell us what you think