MP Jack Straw to complain to BBC over Blackburn estate's documentary portrayal (From Blackburn Citizen)
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MP Jack Straw to complain to BBC over Blackburn estate's documentary portrayal
BLACKBURN MP Jack Straw is to complain to BBC governors over last night’s Panorama film which portrayed Shadsworth as if it was “an uncharted part of Africa”.
He is furious that the docum-entary sensationalised the estate’s problems, and ignored progress in recent years.
Having seen the actual film last night, he rejected BBC claims it was a fair portrayal of life on ‘Shad’.
Mr Straw echoed comments made by community leaders that ‘Trouble on the Estate’ depicted Shadsworth as a crime and drug-ridden community similar to Chatsworth in TV’s “Shameless”.
He said last night: “I shall be writing a strongly-worded complaint to the BBC Trust about this film. It is unacceptable to send a reporter from London who then treats Shadsworth like a Victorian explorer in an uncharted part of Africa.
“The estate does have problems, but so do many others everywhere else in Britain. They viewed Shadsworth through the eyes of a handful of well-known dysfunctional families and implied everybody on the estate shares that outlook.
“The few positives mentioned were simply fig-leaves.
“The film badly misrepresented the lifestyles of the great majority on the estate, and sought to sensationalise its problems.
“I have spent 33 years as its MP, and know the area extremely well.
“It went through serious problems in the 80s and early 90s – just as many similar areas did when much of manufacturing collapsed.
“But the area has improved significantly since then.
“As for ‘drugs, anti-social behaviour, family break-ups, and joblessness’ – such circumstances are not confined to classic estates.
“But these days there is overall much better social behaviour, and significantly less crime.
A Panorama spokesman maintained the film was fair, and rejected claims that residents had been encouraged to behave badly.
He said: “It is categorically untrue that the programme team sought to influence the behaviour of anyone they filmed, and certainly didn’t ask them to put up hoods, as is evident from the youngsters featured in the film.
“We didn’t edit out anybody on the basis that they worked.
“Indeed, working people are featured in the film, and we never interviewed anyone who identified themselves to us as a nurse. ”