The film crew working on Channel 4’s Immigration Street were threatened with physical violence by a criminal gang.
The documentary, set in Southampton’s Derby Road, was originally intended to be a six-part series, but will screen as just a one hour-long episode after the team were forced to cut short filming.
Kieran Smith, factual creative director of Love Productions, told the Radio Times that the decision to cut filming was not influenced by a local campaign against the documentary, which protested outside Channel 4’s headquarters earlier this month, but was due to the threats and intimidation.
Representatives of Southampton Communities Alliance protest outside Channel 4 call for the cancellation of Immigration Street (Mark Kerrison/Demotix)
He said it ‘had nothing to do with the campaign’, but came after ‘physical intimidation from a criminal gang that didn’t want us there to film their activities’.
Kieran revealed: “They threw rocks and eggs at the crew. People were threatened with having acid thrown over them, and having their fingers chopped off.”
Immigration Street, a spin-off of the hit show Benefits Street, will screen on Channel 4 on Tuesday, February 24 at 10pm.
The show was meant to document life in a ‘multicultural community’ in Southampton, but local politicians campaigned against the documentary. They claimed it may not be an accurate reflection of life on the street, following a similar backlash around Benefits Street, which was shot on James Turner Street in Birmingham.
Channel 4’s head of factual programming Ralph Lee said: “Going into this general election immigration is one of the most hotly contested issues and one we think it’s vital to present a range of viewpoints on.
“In filming Immigration Street the strength of feeling around the issue became apparent not just with the many local people who wanted to tell their stories in the film, but also the impassioned response of those opposing it,” he added.