TV One to Air Contentious Benefits Street

TV One will screen the controversial Channel 4 hit Benefits Street in HD.

The documentary series is part of ascheduling spring clean that will include the premiere of what could be the next Broadchurch, the launch of a NZ My Kitchen Rules, and the return of Call the Midwife, Castle and, for the first time in HD, Last Tango in Halifax.

TV One has yet to announce the on-air dates of these newcomers. But as it is already promoting MKR and Midwife, and has nine primetime series ending their runs next week, expect most to surface in the last week of August.

The five-part Benefits Street is named after a street in Birmingham where most people are on welfare.

It spent a year in the life of the residents, generated hundreds of complaints from viewers and led to Twitter death threats against some of those on the programme — but rewarded Channel 4 with its highest ratings in two years.

Critics accused it of making “poverty porn” and some of the participants alleged they had been “tricked” into appearing.

TV One’s also acquired the year’s most popular new British police drama, Happy Valley, which reunites Last Tango in Halifax creator Sally Wainwright and star Sarah Lancashire.

She plays a headstrong policewoman in Yorkshire grieving over her daughter’s suicide who becomes obsessed with finding the man she blames for her death.

The Guardian called it “tough, upsetting and provocative” and a contender for next year’s Baftas while The Independent said: “Last Tango in Halifax was a triumph, but this might be even better.

“As the series progresses, it’s possible to discern how Wainwright is sketching and shading a picture of not just one woman, but an entire Yorkshire community.”

Don’t be surprised if TV One teams Happy Valley with the next series of Tango as a Sunday night double-bill off the back of MKR.

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5 Responses to “TV One to Air Contentious Benefits Street”

  1. Extremely disappointed TV One will air Benefits Street and demonise our most vulnerable people in society and to air it in the run up to an election is even more criminal. Expect more beneficery bashing as we count down towards polling day and more New Zealanders being fed one side of a complex issue. Philip, when is the brilliant and now cancelled A Place to Call Home going to make an appearance?

  2. Whatever the merits of the programme, Leo, you could argue TV One is being fair and balanced if it does air Benefits Street before the election given only weeks ago it screened the left-wing Nigel Latta: The New Haves and Have Nots. And three years ago there was outrage over a Bryan Bruce series on child poverty TV3 aired before the election that some thought politically skewed. As for A Place to Call Home, it’s unlikely to have priority because there’s only one more series and networks are loathed to give plum slots to dramas they can’t build an audience for long-term, especially one that unexpectedly crashed and burned after a strong first season. I imagine it probably will be run out over summer.

  3. I saw a promo for A Place to Call Home on Sunday night during The Kick, so it is coming soon.

  4. Thanks, Sam. Yes, after I rashly speculated in my reply to Leo, TV One sent out their billings, which confirm it for the week starting August 23. Unfortunately, a publication embargo stops me from saying what night and what slot.

  5. Cheers, Sam, and yes, Philip, I have seen the date for A Place To Call Home’s return. Glad that TV One will commit to the series in primetime despite its shock cancellation in Oz and rushed finale to wrap up storylines. In regards to Benefits Street I just hope New Zealanders keep an open mind and put the issues raised into context when viewing this programme.

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