Famous, Rich and Hungry For Sports Relief
As a society, we are so used to hearing about so called “Benefit Scroungers” who are also accused in the media of taking hundreds of thousands of pounds from the […]
As a society, we are so used to hearing about so called “Benefit Scroungers” who are also accused in the media of taking hundreds of thousands of pounds from the tax payer to simply laze about watching Sky TV and having 10 kids in as many years.
The recent Channel 4 series Benefits Street did little to challenge this stereotype, a show that has thrust the ever-present issue of benefits into the public spotlight. In light of this, BBC1’s Sport Relief documentary Famous, Rich and Hungry for Sports Relief seemed like it was going to follow the same pattern. Chuck a few semi-celebs in a few dodgy neighbourhoods, let them doss about for a bit until they’re hit with an epiphany along the lines of “no shit, life on benefits is well bad”. The result was something kind of different.
Okay, to begin with it looked pretty bleak. Jamie Laing not knowing that poverty existed in the UK (really?) and Theo Paphitis harping back to the fact that he came from nothing (so why can’t they, eh?). While the whole show was littered with cringeworthy ignorance, the celebs, to their credit, did do quite well in helping the whole country to realise the extent to which families go to keep their children fed and well. It was unfortunate that so many of them had fallen foul of shark loan agencies that have now full on stung their finances. Equally as unfortunate was at least one of them choosing to buy cigarettes with the little money they did have left over. Personally, I could not justify spending a fair chunk of the family money for the month on cigarettes – but that’s my choice, and I am free to make that choice without the hindrance of addiction. As Jamie says at one point, there is no such thing as ‘choice’ in this life. Choice is a luxury that poverty cannot afford.
The most interesting aspect of this show was showing one of the women using a Food Bank. The use of these has been hotly contested recently, particularly by the She Devil herself, Katie Hopkins (whisper her name, she’s got ears like a bat). In her usual way of deliberately being as controversial as possible, she argued recently that if Food Banks didn’t exist, then the people that use them would have to work. Yeah, and with that, we move back to the real world. The BBC showed the stringent measures in place to ensure only those who truly need the food are allowed it and the relief it brought to her family. Jamie’s commentary that they wouldn’t have eaten that day without it, says it all really. Jamie might miss ‘the hummus, the elderflower’, but for people on the breadline, these services are invaluable and a much-needed support network.
Now if only there was a simple way to separate the scroungers who take too much from those really in need who have too little. Wouldn’t that be a sweet-ass world to live in?
What did you think of the show? Let us know in the comments!