Demand High For ‘Struggle Street’ Sequel, With Nine Set To Jump On ‘Poverty Porn’ Bandwagon

Demand High For ‘Struggle Street’ Sequel, With Nine Set To Jump On ‘Poverty Porn’ Bandwagon

The producers of SBS’s controversial documentary Struggle Street have reportedly fielded offers from rival stations for a follow-up of the series, The Australian is reporting this morning.

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The documentary, that followed the lives of people living in a public housing estate in western Sydney, was a rating bonanza for the government broadcaster despite it being slammed by the show’s incumbents as a wrongful portrayal of the area and the local mayor describing it as “poverty porn”.

However, that’s not dissuaded Channel Nine from jumping on the welfare-as-entertainment bandwagon; it has  just secured the rights to a similar British documentary titled Life On The Dole.

According to Oztam figures, the first episode of Struggle Street secured 925,000 metro viewers and the follow-up last Wednesday received 828,000.

The managing director of KEO Films, Leonie Lowe, that made the series told The Australian that she was happy that once the initial furore surrounding the show – which included SBS’s offices blockaded by garbage trucks – had died down, people could see the program for what it really was.

“We’re doing informative, thought-provoking documentaries and I think we definitely got there,” Lowe said. “It’s just people judged it before they watched the three hours.”

Lowe debunked the idea that there was acrimony between the producers and the protagonists in the show and any notion that some scenarios had been staged for effect. “We had a great relationship with them,” she said.

However, some protagonists in the program had copped flak in the media, namely for underage sex and smoking marijuana while pregnant.

Lowe said everybody who appeared in Struggle Street had signed consent forms and those who did not were not identified. Lowe also told The Australian that a number of suburbs had been canvassed for the program but Mount Druitt was chosen because “its residents were so open to being filmed”.

A second series of Struggle Street is said to be in the pipeline, although Lowe would give no details about where it would be filmed or what network was the frontrunner to air it.