Producers defend their editing choice

The bin men from Don't Blame the Council
The bin men from Don't Blame the Council

TV producers have defended their choices when editing Don’t Blame the Council.

The one-hour documentary on Tuesday night provoked a backlash against the authority and film company when it showed bin men going home on their shifts, as well as staff making derogatory remarks about councillors and members of the public.

They knew that we were going to make an honest film about the difficulties they face and allowed us to make the film with minimal interference

A spokesman from Special Edition Films

Leader Lord Smith himself said the ITV show was “deliberately provocative and edited in such a way to only show the negative aspects.”

But Special Edition Films, who produced the show, today said it was important people saw the truth and the council was aware of what would be shown.

A spokesman said: “Wigan Council were very open and courageous when opening their doors to us.

“They knew that we were going to make an honest film about the difficulties they face and allowed us to make the film with minimal interference.

“We did show the film to the council ahead of broadcast and, subject to some changes that they asked us to make (which we did), they never once tried to exert editorial control to distort the truth of the film and they agreed that the film is fair, factually-accurate and balanced.

“As film-makers, we think it’s important to allow people to see what goes on in big, public organisations and know that what you’re seeing isn’t a public relations version of the truth.

“Wigan Council understood that from the outset and allowed the film to go ahead knowing that it could be uncomfortable and I think that’s to be applauded, even if it now brings criticism or scrutiny.

“A film of this kind does inevitably raise a lot of thorny issues that are being experienced by councils throughout the country and hopefully these can be looked at and debated calmly and rationally over the coming weeks and months once the initial reaction has died down.”

Some of the things shown which appeared to be shown negatively included drainage worker Tommy Robinson appearing to mock the community initiative The Deal, saying it sounded more like a “meal deal.”

He asked the camera: “Can you really see people from a council estate, who cannot keep their own gardens clean, picking up a crisp wrapper in the street?”

A games room for bin men to use once they finished their rounds suggested workers were slacking and even the authority’s determined efforts to tackle dog fouling, by rewarding responsible owners through a raffle, was tarred, as the winner did not receive their prize due to the council worker getting lost.