REACTION: Sheffield Page Hall immigration documentary on Channel 4

Police patrol Page Hall
Police patrol Page Hall
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A New Channel 4 documentary on immigration in Page Hall, Sheffield, will be broadcast tonight.

The new four-part series is set to explore the impact of immigration on the community in the area.

Keeping Up With The Khans, made by the production team behind the hit Channel 4 show Benefits Street, which focused on communities with high unemployment, was filmed over 15 months in Page Hall.

The show was shown on Channel 4 at 9pm and Channel 4+1 at 10pm.

Tonight’s show focuses on the Page Hall community’s asylum seekers.

As the show’s narrator explains: “The Roma are following in the footsteps of the Pakistani community, which left home to seek a better life.

“The community that all new arrivals are trying to keep up with.

“Hida has been in the UK for nearly two years, seeking asylum from Lebanon.

He lives with three other men in a Home Office house rented for asylum seekers.”

His landlord is trying to make him go to a Sheffield Wednesday game.

Omar, from Sudan, alo features. He tells us he wants to be a pilot. He left his country four months ago to come to the UK.

Various Sheffield residents were interviewed about their attitudes to immigration, with several criticising. One man tells us “they are just letting them in”

Omar is living on £35 a week, but cannot work or study while he awaits his asylum application.

Omar is shown visiting the Peace Gardens fountains. He said: “I know the UK is a beautiful country and it’s big, it’s Great British, GB. But I didn’t think it would be beautiful like that.”, he says of the fountains. It’s amazing. It’s really amazing.”

Why did you come back to the UK? a woman who fled her home country is asked.

“Because of the war. They put me in a hotel from the British embassy in Cairo and then flew me out.

“In the evening everyone flocks out.

“I have woken up with Israeli bombs for an alarm clock. So living round here is a breeze.”

“For Omar, the most hazardous part of the journey was the sea crossing to Italy.

“We moved in the night but the sea became angry. Big water. I set myself up to die.”

One Sheffield resident says: “I want to be an asylum seeker. Only thing you have to worry about is not getting your passport.”

The second part shows various asylum seekers as they await decisions on their future, with some waiting years.

As one puts it: “on the journey, sometimes you have to wait. I want to build my life, my family and my future, a complete future with everything in it.”

Julie has bedbugs. The landlord says ‘these are definitely from a foreign country. They are huge.”

“They bomb the house. Not like in Gaza where you’re from. Everywhere she goes she gets bombed.”

“It’s one thing after another here. There were coppers here the other day.

“It;s full of bedbugs. It’s full of foreigners outside, but you wouldn’t move?”

“No,” Julie replies.

Omar adds: “Wehn I come to UK, I have a dream.”

Omar and Hida then visit an airport - it is unclear which one, possibly Doncaster Sheffield.

“1000% British!” Omar exclaims.

He then goes to see a Concorde, exclaiming it is “Senorita in the sky.”

It is discovered that the bedbugs at Julie’s may have come in from a foreign country, according to the show’s narrator.

Omar then heads out on a date, but is stood up, before being accosted by a drunken woman.

He then checks out the locals, adding: “Before I come here, I didn’t saw the woman wearing (clothes) like that, only in magazines or TV.”

Omar is then granted permission to stay in the UK by the Home Office.

“Before I was like a fish in the water. No address, no target. But now I can start my life. I feel human now.”

“Omar is a breath of fresh air,” says his landlord. “a lot of foreigners scowl like you owe them a living. He’s not like that, he’s going places.

“People say this country is losing its identity. These guys have got to live somewhere. They want a better life, they can have one. If i were one of them I’d be straight over here.”

TWITTER USERS REACT:

Tom @tomclithero

Good old racist Sheffield #meetthekhans

Isabella @ellapotesta

The ignorance in Sheffield #keepingupwiththekhans

Alison Sutherland @alisutherland1

@AlexanderCEvans Yeah right. How can he afford a smart phone.

melissa @melissaleighxox

keeping up with the khans makes me embarrassed to say I’m from Sheffield

Ian Watkinson @iansabre

By eck, does mek ya proud to be from Sheffield #keepingupwiththekhans

Leon Mallett @iamleonmallett

@Thepatrickrant Page Hall in Sheffield is actually like that. It’s a tough part of the world. Mass unemployment and poverty.

@AlexanderCEvans It’s like they didn’t have time to clean properly before fleeing everything they hold dear.

PassTheWine @sam_26

...45 minutes, and its not rained yet. Was this really filmed in Sheffield?

Matt Barlow @Mattcartoon

@ellapotesta @AlexanderCEvans don’t tarnish everyone with the same brush, just the ones you see Isabella #sheffield people are not like this

jadey.... @neets16

@AlexanderCEvans omar is proving quite endearing and funny bless him.

Rasul Abdul-Aziz @Russell62011145

@AlexanderCEvans @SheffieldStar Quality, even better that Omar got his stay a great asset to the city

Cllr Jack Scott @Jack_Scott

“Keeping Up With Khans”is designed to make people angry.Sheffield &its people r so much better than being portrayed.@TobyFoster @Sheffieldis

Mark Russell @markrusselluk

@AlexanderCEvans Omar inspired me. I’m a CEO in Sheffield if he wants a mentor I’d happily help him

Benjamin Ley @Sheffben79

Seriously the most embarrassing part of #keepingupwiththekhans was the people of Sheffield... where do they find em?

David Wareham @WuzzieWareham

Very interesting- Omar would be a credit to any city in England

Matt Barlow @Mattcartoon

@ellapotesta @AlexanderCEvans the media do well at pointing fun at #Sheffield & painting a bad picture, like full monty & life of grime

Channel 4’s head of documentaries, Nick Mirsky, who commissioned the series, said: “Immigration is one of the most hotly debated and polarising issues in Britain today. What we are doing with this series is showing audiences how complex the subject is, and reflecting the human stories behind the rhetoric and provocative headlines.”