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IT was the infamous show that gave viewers a no holds barred look at life on the breadline for residents on an ordinary Birmingham street.
But now, Benefits Street’s most well-known face Deirdre Kelly – known as White Dee – has claimed the producers “exploited” those who appeared on the show, and left them feeling “hung out to dry” when the cameras stopped rolling.
Deirdre Kelly AKA White Dee has said the cast of Benefits Street were left out to dryCredit: Simon Jones – The Sun
The documentary became an infamous hit in 2014, when it aired on Channel 4Credit: Channel 4
Dee, 50, has claimed Love Productions and Channel 4 did not provide “any support” after the series ended in 2015.
The mum-of-two told BirminghamLive: “We were just left to deal with the fallout.”
She added how lives have since been turned upside down and that “many people who were in the show really struggled”.
From arrests to tragic deaths, we take a look at what the residents of James Turner Street did next.
Dee became a minor celebrity after the show and went on Celebrity Big Brother
After the show aired, Dee went on to appear on TV debates and was asked to speak at the Conservative Party conference.
In 2014, she appeared on Celebrity Big Brother, for which she claims she was paid around £50,000.
She even appeared on The Jeremy Kyle Show before it was axed to reveal how fame didn’t make her rich – and admitted she tried to kill herself.
She revealed on the show she’d suffered vile trolling about her mixed-race kids, Caitlin and Gerrard.
She said: “I’ve never, ever experienced any racial abuse in my life until… [the show started].
“And some of the threats aimed at me, and some of my children because of their colour, was disgusting.”
Dee later moved out of James Turner Street to nearby Handsworth, which she says is one of her biggest regrets.
She previously said: “The show ripped apart my life at the time.
“It changed my life forever and it destroyed the James Turner Street I knew before the show.”
Samora Robeerts AKA Black Dee was jailed for seven years over a crack cocaine bustCredit: Newsteam/BPM Media
Samora Roberts – also known as Black Dee – was jailed for seven years in January 2016 for possessing live ammunition and crack cocaine with intent to supply.
But that wasn’t the first time the 37-year-old had been in trouble with police.
She was originally arrested in June 2013 when 38-calibre Smith and Wesson cartridges were found during police raids on her home.
The bullets were stashed in a shoe inside a laundry basket at her home.
Samora was one of the first Benefits Street residents to hit out at Channel 4 producers for “exploiting” locals.
She had a public spat with former pal White Dee, claiming she was a “sell-out” for appearing on Celebrity Big Brother.
Smoggy AKA 50p Man
Smoggy almost got a £10,000 deal to open Poundland rival but it fell throughCredit: Channel 4
Door-to-door salesman Smoggy, real name Stephen Smith, became affectionately known as “50p Man” after selling cut-price household wares to the residents of Benefits Street.
His entrepreneurial spirit captured the attention of millionaire Charlie Mullins, who offered him a £10,000 deal to open a 50p discount store to rival Poundland.
Unfortunately, they fell out and the business venture did not happen.
Charlie claimed Smoggy could have become a millionaire and blamed “bad advice from people around him” for the deal falling through.
Stephen previously spent four months in Birmingham’s Winson Green prison in 2010.
Sherrell Dillion achieved her dream of being a catwalk modelCredit: Channel 4/Instagram
Sherrell has even been in a Big Narstie music videoCredit: Instagram/@sherrell_sb_model
Sherrell Dillion, known as SB, was seen on the show trying to launch her modelling career while being a single mum-of-two – and she actually managed it.
Sherrell has modelled all over the world, and even appeared in a Big Narstie music video.
Last year, she told Birmingham Live: “I received some really good exposure from my appearance on Benefits Street. I think people could see I was doing my best as a single mum trying to forge out a career in modelling.
“It took a lot of hard work and dedication but I did get my break and before lockdown I was travelling abroad carrying out modelling assignments.
“I have modelled in London, Paris and Milan. I modelled at London Pacific Fashion Week and was a model at the Black Hair Awards which was one of my favourite jobs.
“Before lockdown I also appeared in several music videos including a video with rapper Big Narstie. It was so much fun.”
James ‘Fungi’ Clarke
James ‘Fungi’ Clarke sadly died of a drug overdose
Former crack cocaine addict James ‘Fungi’ Clarke moved to Cardiff to escape the attention he received after Benefits Street aired.
Still battling booze and drug addictions, a fan later paid £12,000 for him to go to rehab.
James signed with agent Barry Tomes, who had also represented White Dee, and took part in a magazine shoot to show off his new look.
However, Barry ended their professional relationship three months later saying James had “disappeared off the planet”.
Then, tragically, on July 1, 2019, it was reported James had died of a heart attack at the age of 50, apparently triggered by a drug overdose.
He had been living in a house for recovering drug addicts in Birmingham in his final months, and downing up to five litres of cider a day.
Lee Nutley also sadly died after Benefits street airedCredit: Channel 4
Fellow star Lee Nutley was also found dead in October 2016.
His body was discovered by an ambulance crew at a home in Stockton, where the second series of the programme was filmed.
Lee suffered a number of health issues in the years leading up to his death, including epilepsy and heroin addiction, but was believed to have been trying to get his life back together.
Mark Thomas and Becky Howe
Mark Thomas and Becky Howe finally got jobs after Benefits Street airedCredit: Channel 4
Mark Thomas, 29, had never held down a full-time job and got in trouble after bragging about fiddling his benefits.
But a month after filming finished, he got a job as a manual labourer and he and partner Becky Howe, also 29, stopped claiming.
They and their young children moved away after the show aired, but did not share their new address with their neighbours.
In 2019, neighbour Anna Korzen said: “They seemed to enjoy the attention at first but I think it got too much for them.
“They left six months ago but didn’t say where to.”