Telly Text #25: Benefits Street + Preachers' Daughters

on Wednesday, January 22, 2014
Words: Jordan Andrew

'Benefits Street'

Social media has exploded over Channel 4’s latest bonkers and outrageous television series. 'Benefits Street' is a five part series on the lives of people living James Turner Street in Birmingham where many of the people living on this street are unemployed and on benefits. We get to see the day to day life on this street which seems to involve the residents drinking, smoking and shoplifting if going what has been shown so far.

The so-called mother of James Turner Street ‘White Dee’ is the mother figure to everyone. I would say she is more of a mafia boss, and is generally in everyone’s business because she has nothing better to do. Her door is always opened and if she is not smoking, she is helping the other residences with their problems. ‘White Dee’ is clearly quite intelligent and knows how the system works.

‘White Dee’ is not the only Dee on this street - we also have ‘Black Dee’, who is also unemployed and spends her day drinking and smoking. When she is not busy indulging she is avoiding paying her rent and has even received a court order. ‘Black Dee’ is good at playing the victim like the majority of these people on this show.

Not everyone completely awful on this show, there are some actual likable characters. Smoggy is one of them, an entrepreneur who is trying to do some good by selling cups of items for fifty pence. He may not be ready for 'The Apprentice' anytime soon but he resolves my faith in humanity. Fungi is someone I slightly warmed to only because it seems that he knows nothing better and perhaps lacks intelligence with certain things. This is why whenever he is trouble he runs to the mafia boss ‘White Dee’ to help him out. Fungi is almost like a child and it would be wrong for me to judge him like the rest of the street.

There have been a lot of reports since the airing of this show claiming that Channel 4 has portrayed these people poorly and the number of unemployed on James Turner Street has been exaggerated. They feel scammed but honestly I have not one bit of sympathy, this is what happens when you expose yourself on national television.

Catch 'Benefits Street' every Monday on Channel 4 at 9pm.

'Preachers’ Daughters'

I have always seen my parents as strict and slightly overprotective, even as I am typing this they are moaning about something. So when I started watching 'Preachers’ Daughters' I saw my parents but ten times worse which sent shivers down my spine. 'Preachers’ Daughters' is a docu-soap based around Kolby Koloff, Olivia Perry, Taylor Coleman and their families. We get to see the girls balance between their teenage lives as well as their religious values that their preacher parent make sure they are upholding at all times.

Out of all the girls, I would say Olivia brings to the biggest story to the show. Being a single teenage mum would be hard but being under the watchful eye of her father is even harder especially when she wants to meet up with old friends and try new things such as “trick or treating”. Olivia’s family do not seem to yell or even argue throughout the whole of this show, which makes me wonder if she and her family are a bunch of robots - they all seem able to keep their emotions in check. However the moment where she tells her family that she is not sure who the father of her daughter is, it felt like I was watching 'The Maury Show' but with more drama and tension.

My personal favourite on the show is Taylor and her family because out of all the girls on the show, she wants to be seen as more than just a preachers’ daughter. Her parents, out of all the girls, are the most overprotective and seem very quick to assume that Taylor is going down the wrong path, even though Taylor does not help the situation by talking about doing porn. As much as Taylor does slip up from time to time she is very much on the ball and is able argue her class especially with her parents, she knows the bible verses to throw to make them stop and think.

As much as there might be scripted elements to this show at the end of the day, you can see that all the families in this show do care for each other. I am looking forward to the prospect of a second series of this Lifetime show - I’m sure these girls will be back to give us more drama very soon. If not, I’ll just have to carry on watching repeats.

Catch 'Preachers’ Daughters' every Sunday on Lifetime at 11pm.

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