RESIDENTS have slammed a Panorama programme that makes their estate look like something from Shameless as "outrageous and scandalous".
The BBC's 'Trouble on the Estate' (broadcast tonight) was filmed over four months in Shadsworth, Blackburn, Lancashire.
One councillor said it's more like an episode of Shameless than a true depiction of the estate. The documentary shows the estate to be riddled with: street corner drug dealers; broken families needing help; drunks; teenage yobs destined prison; gangs causing mayhem for a few respectable residents; hard-pressed police struggling to cope and boarded up houses and shops linked by rubbish-strewn alleys.
Just a few positives are mentioned in the course of the documentary. The area was chosen as it is one of the most deprived in the country. However nearby Mill Hill and Wensleyfold, and Trinity in Burnley, were ranked even lower in the tables.
Mary Anderson and Alison Critchley, from the Shadsworth Tenants' and Residents' Association, said they were "outraged" the documentary had concentrated on problems involving the estate.
Mrs Anderson said: "The film makers asked me for help. I was concerned but they promised they would highlight the positives and give a fair picture. When I saw the title I felt I had been misled and the estate was being misrepresented.
"There are lots of good things in Shadsworth, investment and many good people. We run many clubs and events at the community centre - jobs clubs, breakfast clubs for older people, support for those with mental, drug and alcohol problems."
Mrs Critchley said: "We are deprived but our crime rate has fallen for three years running. If it shows us as bad people, locals start to believe it and we lose jobs and investment. They have scandalised our home."
Coun Jim Shorrock said the documentary could set back efforts to revive the community by decades. He said: "As someone who has lived in Shadsworth for the past fourteen years, I am horrified. They chose Shadsworth as an easy target.
"Constituents tell me of young lads being asked to pull their hoods up "for effect", and working people, including a nurse, being edited out simply because they work. I despair if this is true.
"I sincerely hope this doesn't look like an episode of Shameless, because it could set my ward back twenty years.
"It could lead to lower house prices, derail investment, lower morale, and potentially turn it in to a sink estate, undoing all the investment and hard work of the community, Twin Valley Homes, essential services, and the police."
Council leader Kate Hollern said she was extremely concerned about the contents of the programme. She said: "I fear local people have been misled and the estate misrepresented."
And MP Jack Straw said: "Shadsworth is improving and I have visited far, far worse estates elsewhere in the country."
A BBC spokesman said: "Panorama spent four months filming with families who shared their views about life on the estate.
According to the 2010 Indices of Deprivation, Shadsworth is one of the most deprived places in the country. We were clear our intention was to show a true picture of life on the estate and while the programme shows the difficulties that some of the residents face, we believe it is a fair portrayal. We encourage people to watch the programme before making judgement."
Panorama is broadcast tonight at 9pm on BBC1.