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We find out what happened to the residents of Benefits Street five years after the Channel 4 show made them unlikely stars

We find out what happened to the residents of Benefits Street five years after the Channel 4 show made them unlikely stars

IT was the cult TV show that pulled in five million viewers regardless of having the most unlikely stars.

Channel 4’s controversial Benefits Street tracked the lives of the residents of James Turner Street in Birmingham as they navigated life on state handouts — sparking nationwide debate about welfare Britain.

 Deirdre Kelly, better known as White Dee, shot to fame after her appearance on Benefits Street

SWNS:South West Information Service

Deirdre Kelly, higher often known as White Dee, shot to fame after her look on Benefits Street

 Dee has since moved on from Birmingham's James Turner Street after finding work as an occasional TV pundit

Channel 4

Dee has since moved on from Birmingham’s James Turner Street after discovering work as an occasional TV pundit

They have been filmed shoplifting to purchase medicine and whereas some had reputable claims for advantages, others queued up to boast on digital camera about dishonest the system.

Five years on, The Solar on Sunday returned to find all of the residents featured have moved out, with claims the show “ripped the heart out of our happy road”.

Whereas some have used fame as a springboard, others are struggling on Common Credit score.

Deirdre Kelly, 47 — matriarch White Dee — stated: “The show was a double-edged sword for us.

 Dee says the show 'ripped apart a family' and she no longer speaks to her former neighbours

SWNS:South West Information Service

Dee says the show ‘ripped aside a household’ and she or he not speaks to her former neighbours

“On one hand it gave us an opportunity to get off advantages and a brand new begin. However there isn’t any doubt it ripped aside a household.

“I don’t converse to anybody from the road now. Earlier than the cameras arrived we have been a struggling group however we shared meals, hugs and recommendation. We opened our houses to one another.

“However the notoriety and a spotlight that got here with the show tore the coronary heart out of the James Turner Street we knew. It’s so unhappy.

“Life has changed because of the change to benefits too. If the cameras filmed Benefits Street now I think it would be more Destitution Street for some, but that is where we are as a nation five years on.”

 The programme showed some residents of James Turner Street engaging in criminal behaviour

SWNS:South West Information Service

The programme confirmed some residents of James Turner Street partaking in legal behaviour

The five-episode collection was billed as a fly-on-the-wall take a look at life on advantages.

However broadcasting watchdog Ofcom and police acquired a whole lot of complaints about criminality on the show.

“Fungi” — actual identify James Clarke — was one of the foremost characters, seen battling drug and drink habit.

Producers then put him up in a collection of inns. It was a lifeline and he received cash to go to rehab as a result of of his appearances on the show.

 Fungi — real name James Clarke — was seen on the show battling drug and drink addictions

Channel 4

Fungi — actual identify James Clarke — was seen on the show battling drug and drink addictions

However regardless of him being given these alternatives, The Solar on Sunday found the whining star begging on the streets of Birmingham.

He advised us: “My life has been a multitude since Benefits Street. It screwed my life for a bit.

“I obtained deeply into medicine once more and was dwelling tough in Cardiff. I might’ve died. However a stranger noticed me on TV.

“I reminded him of his brother who died from drug abuse and he paid £11,500 to get me off medicine.

 Sadly Fungi is now begging on the streets of Birmingham

SWNS:South West Information Service

Sadly Fungi is now begging on the streets of Birmingham

“I’ve been clean from drugs for over three years thanks to him.”

Fungi informed us his life was going nicely — he was dwelling in his personal place and signing on for work — till his advantages of virtually £500 a month have been slashed to £229 beneath Common Credit score, the controversial system for working-age individuals.

He stated: “Common Credit score ruined me. I used to be so indignant about it that I acquired barred from the JobCentre.

“I began begging on the road to make up the cash. I had to stay tough once more. Again to sq. one.

 Fungi says he was 'ruined' by the introduction of Universal Credit

SWNS:South West Information Service

Fungi says he was ‘ruined’ by the introduction of Common Credit score

“Earlier this yr I used to be crushed up, obtained my jaw smashed by two guys on an evening out and I felt lonely.

“I didn’t have the group from Benefits Street to assist me recuperate. It’s a ghost city now, nobody talks to one another.

“Life has become harder there. People are beyond the breadline and no one is helping each other out like they used to.”

Dad-of-one Fungi flirted with the world of superstar. He was provided £300 for public appearances in locations as distant as Magaluf however turned it down as a result of he “didn’t want cash for being laughed at”.

 Fungi now lives in sheltered accommodation with his girlfriend of eight months, Kerrie Tarbuck

SWNS:South West Information Service

Fungi now lives in sheltered lodging together with his girlfriend of eight months, Kerrie Tarbuck

Now he lives together with his girlfriend of eight months, Kerrie Tarbuck, 40, in her sheltered lodging. He hopes to marry her subsequent yr.

Fungi stated: “We share our benefits to make ends meet but it’s hard. At least we’ve got each other.”

Benefits Street featured 99 properties, which housed 13 nationalities, and almost all of its residents have been unemployed and on advantages.

The documentary opened with the road’s “mother hen”, White Dee, moaning about advantages cuts and warning of potential penalties.

 After Benefits Street Dee got more than £50,000 to appear on Celebrity Big Brother in 2014

SWNS:South West Information Service

After Benefits Street Dee obtained greater than £50,000 to seem on Superstar Huge Brother in 2014

Dee was commonly seen cooking meals for the hungry on the road and emerged as a star. She acquired greater than £50,000 to seem on Movie star Huge Brother in 2014, went on Unfastened Ladies and has grow to be a spokeswoman on all issues advantages.

She has turned her life round and is not on welfare.

Dee stated: “After CBB we moved out of James Turner Street, our residence for ten years.

“Vacationers, followers and rubberneckers have been knocking on our door, wanting via the window, giving racist abuse to my mixed-race youngsters.

 Dee claims 'Benefits Street ripped the heart out of our happy road'

SWNS:South West Information Service

Dee claims ‘Benefits Street ripped the coronary heart out of our completely happy street’

“I left with a really heavy heart but I think some people thought I’d got too big for the street, which wasn’t true. Benefits Street ripped the heart out of our happy road.”

Dee, who now lives three miles away in a sensible, rented three- bed room residence, stated she will get by “being tight and saving the money I make”.

Dee, who ditched her superstar agent two years in the past, stated: “I don’t make a lot cash however I’ve stored my frugal methods.

“I’ll all the time purchase half-price bread as an alternative of recent. I say no to the youngsters all the time. They need £120 trainers however I say, ‘£15 trainers for you mate’.”

 Stephen Smith aka Smoggy used to sell 50p sachets of washing powder and sugar to neighbours

Handout

Stephen Smith aka Smoggy used to promote 50p sachets of washing powder and sugar to neighbours

Smoggy, actual identify Stephen Smith, was seen in the first episode promoting 50p sachets of washing powder and sugar to neighbours.

This innovation caught the eye of London businessman Charlie Mullins, boss of Pimlico Plumbers, who provided him £10,000 to begin his personal retailer.

However one resident on the road, who requested not to be named, advised us the pair fell out, scuppering the deal.

She stated: “Smoggy was gutted but he had different ideas to Charlie. I’ve heard Smoggy has moved out of the area. He will never get another offer as good as the one Charlie offered him.”

 Sherrell Dillion, known as SB, was trying to launch a modelling career while on the show

Sherrell Dillion, generally known as SB, was making an attempt to launch a modelling profession whereas on the show

Sherrell Dillion, often known as SB, was seen on the show making an attempt to launch her modelling profession whereas being a mum-of-two.

The 32-year-old stated: “Benefits Street was superb for me. Individuals noticed me and gave me an opportunity.

“My first modelling job was in a Wetherspoons advert then I had castings in Paris, Milan and Barcelona.

“I’d barely been away earlier than. It was unimaginable.

 Since the show Sherrell has had castings in Paris, Milan and Barcelona

SWNS:South West Information Service

Since the show Sherrell has had castings in Paris, Milan and Barcelona

“The show aired in Australia two years ago and now I’ve been offered more work there. I’m not rich but I’m off any benefits other than child support.”

Black Dee, actual identify Samora Roberts, 37, was jailed for seven years in 2016 for operating a drug-dealing operation at her residence in James Turner Street.

She stated the show “threw her into the limelight” and buddies stated the drug dealing was her “just trying to make ends meet” as she fell additional into debt.

However Fungi informed us: “She’s simply been launched on parole and is working in a store. She had an actual robust time.

 Samora Roberts, known as Black Dee, was jailed for seven years in 2016 for running a drug-dealing operation at her home

BPM Media

Samora Roberts, often known as Black Dee, was jailed for seven years in 2016 for operating a drug-dealing operation at her residence

“The show was bad for her but I saw her the other day and she’s making a good go of things.”

In the meantime, Mark Thomas and Becky Howe, each 28, who have been seen on the show struggling to convey up their two youngsters, have moved to a three-bedroom residence on the outskirts of the metropolis.

A neighbour stated: “The show was a catastrophe for them. Their households turned on them they usually fell out with pals. Mark was referred to as a scrounger by his household.

“He’s now got a job as a labourer and turned his life around.”

As for the street, gone are the graffiti scrawlings of “Fungi” on the partitions and “Benefits Street” on the road signal.

However many issues stay. One resident stated: “For a lot of, it’s nonetheless a wrestle to get by. Benefits are minimize and the value of dwelling is rising.

“It’s even tough for those on the road who work.”

White Dee claims her Benefits Street household was ‘ripped apart’ by Channel 4 show



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