BBC in faking scandal over hoodie footage

July 7, 2010 | by | 0 Comments

The BBC is embroiled in a faking scandal after it emerged that footage of hoodies for a documentary on a troubled housing estate was actually filmed in a different neighbourhood.

Camera crews followed police as they tackled anti-social behaviour in Lawrence Weston, Bristol, for the BBC1 show ‘The Estate We’re In’.

The 45-minute film, broadcast on Monday, showed chilling shots of hooded yobs with their faces covered as they hurled abuse at officers.

But outraged residents flooded the BBC with complaints after they recognised that the gangs were filmed in Southmead area of Bristol – three miles away.

Avon and Somerset Constabulary has now lodged a formal complaint with the show’s producers, independent film maker Twofour Broadcast.

Lawrence Weston beat officer PC Shaun Underwood – who took part in the programme – said the footage was deliberately used to cast the area in a bad light.

He said: ”My main issue was the group of youths they kept cutting back to which was about four or five times with the hoods up, the scarves over their face, being abusive to some police officers, and being generally antisocial, was not Lawrence Weston.

”I would be interested to see what the producers would say if they were to come and speak to residents because I don’t think they would be overly happy.

”These shots were definitely not on my beat. I take quite a lot of pride in my area and I am proud of my area and I just think it’s sad they portrayed somewhere else as Lawrence Weston.”

The programme was part of a five-part series which focused on the social and crime problems faced by the residents of Vincent Close in Lawrence Weston.

Super-gran Silla Carron, who transformed her estate in Camden, North London, was drafted in to help improve the area.

Camera crews toured the estate with the police and Silla as they motivated residents to raise their standards.

But the documentaries were edited to show gangs of menacing hoodies as the prowled the streets.

The youngsters had their faces covered with scarves and hoods pulled up as they yelled abuse at police.

Officers have identified the scenes as being shot in Coleford Road on the Southmead estate, which is three miles away from Vincent Close, or 11 minutes by car.

A source at Avonmouth Police Station said: ”There were some discrepancies in the filming which we recognised straight away.

”The officers at the police station recognised the incorrect scenes as an area of Coleford Road in Southmead.”

Estate agent Zoe Young, 34, who lives in Lawrence Weston, said: ”I was absolutely appalled at what I watched.

”It was a blatant misrepresentation of the estate I live on. It was nigh-on slanderous.

”What the programme didn’t show was that Vincent Close is opposite the Blaise Castle estate, one of the most beautiful parks in the city.

We have a youth centre which runs a lot of activities for the kids, including karate and drum’n’bass nights.”

Emma Bees, 32, a carer, said: ”I was shouting at my TV as I watched it. I couldn’t believe they had twisted things so much.

”I’m really angry about it. You don’t get much trouble in some parts of Lawrence Weston but they tried to make it seem like you do.”

Unemployed Nick Bowering, 23, said: ”It is frustrating because there is not much we can do about it. We had no idea when they were filming that this is what they were going to make us look like.

”To top it all off they use footage of Southmead – it is clearly not around here. My brother lives in Southmead and he identified those shots as definitely being filmed in Southmead.”

Programme producer Kent Upshon said the mix-up was a genuine mistake and there was no intention to mislead viewers.

He claimed the scenes were shot while they accompanied officers on their rounds and they were unaware they had strayed into Southmead.

”We thought that because we were with the police we were within the boundaries of Lawrence Weston,” he said.

”We should have made it clearer in the program. There was no attempt to mislead the viewers.

”We are talking to the BBC about re-editing the footage for the iPlayer and speaking to BBC colleagues today to see what further action we are going to take.”

Avon and Somerset Constabulary has confirmed that the film crew were accompanied by officers when they shot the hoodie footage in Southmead.

A BBC spokesman said: ”We’re disappointed to learn that it appears this footage was not in fact filmed on Lawrence Weston estate.

”Twofour has given us a guarantee that there are no other instances such as this in the series.

”We take this matter seriously and are looking into it further.”

Two more episodes of the five-part series are due to be aired on Thursday and Friday at 9.15am.

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