Google Maps depicts true ‘Benefits Street’ Scenario

Alex MacDonald January 10, 2014 7

Many people have criticised Channel 4’s ‘Benefits Street’ programme, which films the lives of several people who live on James Turner Street, Birmingham, on the grounds that it is a duped production, antagonistic, and that it misrepresents the benefits system and the people who receive those benefits.

A petition has been signed by around 17,000 people due to the show being so controversial.

But Google depicts another facet from this diamond in the rough of British documentaries.

benefits street

Photo courtesy of Google Maps.

No duping, no antagonisms, no hyperbole. This is the image of what the Google Street Car photographed when it passed by James Turner Street in Birmingham.

We’re not trying to point the finger here in order to gain political points, but the programme’s representation of life on James Turner Street, whilst compared with pictures acquired from here, seems entirely accurate and responsible.

It seems like brilliant journalism to me.

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  • Christopher Gage

    40 + words in the opener. Should be 25 tops. 😉

  • Matthew Pearson

    OH MY GOD. People sat outside their houses on a warm day enjoying the sun and probably some neighbour to neighbour conversation. Better call the police and have them break up this wildly irresponsible behaviour and crack a few heads together for good measure. I zoomed in and I could see no evidence of a chilled chablis on the table, there is no houmous or crudities to be seen at all. This surely is the dark beating heart of the underclass destined to suck all into its torpid oblivion.

    Or alternatively it’s a silly non-story which says very little about the occupants of this street, but speaks volumes to the petty prejudices and casual classist assumptions of the author.


    To stop the Non Payment of rent give the landlords the cheques. To stop the buying of Fags and booze. FOOD STAMPS will solve this!

  • Liam Deacon

    You think that pictures of people sat peacefully outside their homes proves they’re the leaches of society? Sorry, how does the logic of this argument work? There is no logic to your ‘argument.’

    • Liam McCleary

      I agree with you entirely. The Backbencer asks, “Why is that child in a pushchair and not up a chimney?”

  • The Street View shots look like something out of The Wire, except that not even west Baltimore looks like that if you go on Street View.

  • John Smith

    The lefties are saying its untypical.
    Many will have a ‘Benefits Street’ near them
    What an indictment of 21 st Century Britain