HETTY Wainthropp could return to Preston for an encore - in a bid to calm locals who are angry at the way their area has been portrayed on TV.

Tenants living in Avenham flats, where BBC film crews were this week shooting scenes for the popular television series Hetty Wainthropp Investigates, were stunned when set designers began to make their already-decaying tower blocks look even worse.

Cameramen for the show, which stars actress Patricia Routledge as investigator Hetty, shipped in burnt-out cars, boarded up windows and sprayed graffiti on false walls to transform the area into an inner city hell-hole.

But, despite residents' excitement about the filming, some of them are sceptical about the end result.

Mary Balshaw, chairman of Avenham Tenants Action Group, said the area will be undergoing a major face-lift over the next 12 months and was unsure about how the Hetty Wainthrop programme would portray it.

She added: "It raises Avenham's profile and puts us on the map - something we are looking for in our bid to regenerate the area.

"But the set was very unflattering and I think the residents might be shocked."

Mary said she would like to lay down the gauntlet to the BBC and invite them back in a year's time.

She added: "It would be great if they could return for another episode when we have something to show off."

Local councillor Ken Cole agreed: "What concerns me is that when the programme is shown, people will be given the impression that Preston council estates, and Avenham in particular, are slums."

He added: "This flies in the face of the improved image of many of our estates.

"In the near future Avenham will have changed out of all recognition as £12 million is spent on council housing in the Avenham."

Fiona Williams, BBC's drama unit publicity officer, said they could not say where they will be filming in the future.

But she didn't rule out the possibility, and added: "If there is another series, we will consider the whole of Lancashire for locations."

Converted for the new archive on 14 July 2000. Some images and formatting may have been lost in the conversion.