Skinner: I turned down Benefits Street job | 'I didn't want to be derogatory'

Skinner: I turned down Benefits Street job

'I didn't want to be derogatory'

Frank Skinner has revealed that he refused to provide the voiceover for Channel 4’s controversial Benefits Street because he feared it would be ‘derogatory’ to the people it portrayed.

The comedian said that producers approached him over the job and assured him that the show would be about the ‘community spirit’ among claimants in a Birmingham street.

But Skinner, who is from the West Midlands too, had doubts over the tone of the programme, so turned it down.

He told the Birmingham Mail the he was shown a couple of ‘very nice’ clips but said it was only ‘a very small part of a five-episode series, and I wondered what the rest would be like’.

‘I thought, “I don’t really want to be involved in something where I’m derogatory about people from Birmingham”.

‘I can imagine there would be a lot of awkward moments in the recording studio when I said “I’m not going to say that”. I really don’t want to be on TV criticising Birmingham.”

‘I haven’t seen the programme yet, but from what I’ve heard I think I made the right decision.’

Benefits Street has been criticised for showing claimants as scroungers drug addicts and thieves, and protesters yesterday gathered outside the London offices of production company Love Productions. However Channel 4 has stood by the show , saying it was not ‘poverty porn’ and insisting that producers followed strict broadcasting rules.

Published: 14 Jan 2014

What do you think?

Today's comedy-on demand picks

NICK HELM: ALL KILLER SOME FILLER

This is the show that celebrated the launch of Nick Helm's album in 2016, and has previously been unseen by anyone who was not in the O2 Forum Kentish Town that night.

With typical hyperbole, the show is described thusly: 'Under-rehearsed, under-prepared and under pressure, Nick and his band somehow managed to pull together the greatest show in the last 27 years of living memory. That show went down as a thing of legend, often spoken about by weary travellers around campfires, but thought to have been lost to the sands of time forever.'

Click for more suggestions

... including Al Murray headlining a Just For Tonic gig and the launch of Free Festival's virtual comedy programming.

We see you are using AdBlocker software. Chortle relies on advertisers to fund this website so it’s free for you, so we would ask that you disable it for this site. Our ads are non-intrusive and relevant. Help keep Chortle viable.