It was only to be expected.  If some of the residents of Benefits Street agreed to be filmed while they were shoplifting and flogging on their ill-gotten gains, then exchanging the money for drugs (yes, we used to see that going down outside our house) then they should surely have expected the police to take a close interest.  As should those who are having to pay bedroom tax, and are therefore growing pot in their spare bedroom …

The programme received shoals of complaints, both for and against – and the police had hundreds of calls.  Well, they know the area well already – we once had the police chasing a convict through our garden!

Worse though, and undeserved, some of the residents have received death threats.  Now that’s worrying.

Today I’ve at last managed to get back to my writing, after a very busy Christmas and New Year.  I got good feedback for the last bit I did for my university writing course, which finished before Christmas,  which encouraged me.  So now it’s back to reading my parents’ letters from the island of Tristan da Cunha, year of 1956 … and mulling over which of the thousands of pieces of information would provide my next instalment

In the middle I got an email from my next-brother-down, who is busy putting all the old Tristan cine film on to dvd.  When he arrived before new year, we sat in the kitchen and did a commentary between us – but he’s just discovered a whole new section which needs editing in.  It was so useful to be able to go to Dad’s letters written at the time he took the cine, and get an exact commentary.

It’s a really interesting section which covers our visit to St Helena island, the shark that came to the surface to eat the bacon, and the flying fish that landed on the deck.

Happy days

St Helena, South Atlantic, from http://www.wooltorton.org.uk/


  1. I dont think it is fair that the people on the show have recieved death threats dont people understand the spin that media puts on things? they are designed to create overflowing emotions and it is going to ruin the lives of those people.
    Well done for getting back into your writing it sounds like you are making some considerable headway with that and editing of the cine film


  2. You’ve had an unbelievably interesting life Gilly and it certainly makes for great reading on here!

    I watched the ‘Benefit Street’ programme and was captured by it, people and the lives they lead can provide an endless source of fascination for me. I think we should all say to ourselves ‘there but for the grace of god etc’ as who knows how any of us would react until we found ourselves living in a similar situation.

    Hope you and hubby are keeping well x


  3. What an amazing piece of family [and social] history you are working on – awesome.

    As for Benefit Street – yes, common sense and thinking ahead are things of the past, fame or notoriety does not a defence make when you allow yourself to be filmed breaking the law, but they will likely plead mitigation of persecution because of being filmed for tv. As for those caught in the cross fire, I grieve for them, how terrible to be in the midst of such hatred.


    1. Knowing them so well, Hub and I were discussing it: we think that some of them just want to be famous, to be on TV – it’s a way of giving them a feeling of self-worth. We see this sort of thinking all the time – cf Jeremy Kyle.


      1. Yes, I had pondered such myself. It is a sort of posturing, a display, but they sadly do not think it through properly. The chat rags show these ‘docu-soap’ people is their designer gear, jetting off to here or there, having an exciting fun time and are mesmerised and sucked into thinking they can get that too by being famous. *shakeshead*


      2. I think it’s also a way of getting listened to. On the whole, people don’t listen to them and they tend to be the voiceless and disempowered of our society.


  4. How lovely to have film and handwritten text! I’m glad you’re cracking on with it….I can’t wait to read it….coz….Bacon eating sharks an flyin fish????? Crikey!!! Good stuff1xxx


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s