SHADSWORTH residents’ anger has grown following the broadcast of a TV documentary on their community, branding the film a ‘hatchet job’ and ‘a farce’.

Blackburn police chief Bob Eastwood said the the Panorama programme ‘Trouble on the Estate’ was not was not a ‘true representation of life on the estate’ He added: “I would be disappointed if people thought it was.”

The programme has also provoked Blackburn MP Jack Straw to write a letter of complaint to the BBC Trust over its portrayal of Shadsworth as a den of crime, drugs, joblessness and broken families.

As the row grew, the BBC last night defended it as “a fair and balanced portrayal of life on the estate”.

Kathleen Shuttleworth, of Patterdale Avenue, said: “I think it was an appalling programme. A farce. The BBC should be ashamed of themselves.

“How are we ever going to sell our houses now?”

Alison Critchley, of the Shadsworth Tenants and Residents Association, said: “It was a hatchet job, just like we feared.”

Chief superintendent Eastwood said: “It was an accurate picture of the life of a few families on the estate but misrepresented the life of the majority of the people on Shadsworth.

“I still maintain that Shadsworth is not rife with drug dealing on street corners.”

Blackburn with Darwen council leader Kate Hollern said: “I have been contacted by many upset and angry residents. I am saddened and angered by the film.”

Cou Jim Shorrock said: “I am not impressed. It certainly was a hatchet job.”

A Panorama spokesman said: : “We stand by the programme as a fair and balanced portrayal of life on the estate.

"All of the main contributors to the programme have said that they are both happy with it and their contribution to it. Indeed the programme makers have been thanked by some residents.

"We spent many months on the estate and reflected both what we were told and what we filmed, including the view of the police.

"However, the many residents we spoke to told us that anti-social behaviour and drugs are a real problem there.

"Whilst the programme makers are happy to defend their journalism, they believe that the criticism it is currently receiving deflects attention from the issues which are of genuine concern to many residents on the estate and the wider public.”

Video rebuttals

Blackburn with Darwen Council posted two videos on YouTube offering an alternative perspective on life at Shadsworth.

  • An interview with Coun Jim Shorrock about the documentary.

  • The Voices of Shadsworth Estate features interviews with people from the area.