…local MP Austin Mitchell had written to the station boss demanding he cancel Skint's commission and "consider the ethics of the trend Channel 4 has embarked on of demonising the poor and making poverty entertainment".Not everyone agrees.
The vicar says he wanted to showcase Shalom's "vital" youth work, which like all universal youth services, is under increasing pressure. It currently survives from a Comic Relief grant, topped up with council funding that was recently cut by two-thirds.
He has little time for some of the anti-Skint campaigners, who assume participants are too weak or ill-educated to understand the consequences of letting cameras into their living rooms.
"You keep hearing them being called 'vulnerable', but believe me, many are as vulnerable as a Sherman tank. They're no shrinking violets by any means. They want their stories told."Heh! Quite. Often, these people know exactly what they are doing. Who, one wonders, is doing the manipulating?
At the public meeting, much talk was of the damage Skint could wreak. One teacher was in tears as she predicted the confidence-zapping effect such a programme could have on her pupils.Most of the kids from these areas exhibit a worrying overconfidence, actually...
Steve Maxon, former deputy head of a Scunthorpe school near where the first series of Skint was filmed, said the programme, broadcast last May, may have caused irreparable damage.'May have'..? Put up, or shut up!
"There are families there not speaking to each other any more as a result," he said, complaining that she show was "hugely demoralising" for an a town already lacking in self confidence.Can a town actually 'lack confidence'..?
The meeting ended with the authoring of a letter to send to Channel 4, Keo, Ofcom and beyond, saying: "Our town is a wonderful place to live, and however desperate a Skint TV channel is to increase its ratings and advertising revenue, they have no right to portray it otherwise."They have every right to do so. What right do you have to demand they stop?
Katie Buchanan, head of documentaries at Keo, believes her firm has been a victim of the fall-out from Benefits Street. She points out that the Nunsthorpe public meeting had been convened by Steve Chalke, a charismatic Anglican pastor who runs over 40 schools under the Oasis banner, including one on James Turner Street. Chalke has led the charge against Benefits Street – among his claims are that there are children at that school who haven't attended since the programme aired.Which is a matter for the truant officer, of such a thing exists.
But Skint, says Buchanan, would "celebrate the resilience and ingenuity of these deindustrialised communities". They are listening to the objectors, she insists, but to pull out of the project would be a "dereliction of duty".Well, really, it's down to the chosen interviewees. If they don't want to take part then it...
None of the participants from Scunthorpe had raised objections, she says, and series two would be broadcast later this year or early next.Game over, objectors!