• Home
  • News
  • Entertainment
  • LAD Originals

U OK M8?
Free To Be
Extinct
Citizen Reef

To make sure you never miss out on your favourite NEW stories, we're happy to send you some reminders

Click 'OK' then 'Allow' to enable notifications

Not now
OK

How Benefits Street's White Dee shot to fame after the famous Channel 4 show

Dominic Smithers

Published 
| Last updated 

How Benefits Street's White Dee shot to fame after the famous Channel 4 show

When it first hit our screens in 2014, Benefits Street was one of the most controversial shows on TV.

The documentary series followed the lives of residents on James Turner Street in Winson Green, Birmingham, where it was reported at the time the vast majority of people were claiming benefits. Check out the trailer:

Loading…

One of the main personalities viewers were introduced to was Deirdre Kelly, a larger than life character who was better known as White Dee.

She was seen as the matriarch of the street, and became a favourite with fans of the show.

Following her appearance on the series, White Dee became something of a star, going on to be a surprise contestant on Celebrity Big Brother.

She had viewers in stitches as she managed to convince her American housemates that she was actually a member of the Royal Family, and was 23rd in line to the throne.

White Dee starred in Benefits Street. Credit: Channel 4
White Dee starred in Benefits Street. Credit: Channel 4

She later went on to appear on an episode of Jeremy Kyle, where she opened up about her battles with depression and revealed that she had tried to take her own life.

Recalling the attempt, she said: “I sent (the kids) to dad’s and I wasn’t nice.

"I was vile to them. I snapped. I just went through everything.

"You just feel so sorry for yourself. I thought I’d just save everyone all the hassle.

"The kids don’t deserve a mum who feels so sorry for herself."

Kelly has also previously hit out at Channel 4 and the producers of Benefits Street about the lack of care for the participants.

"There was no support while it was being made and there was certainly no aftercare," she said. "At the time much of the attention was negative.

"We were getting slated for being on benefits. But no-one told us how to deal with it. We were just left to deal with the fallout from the show."

Kelly was a contestant on Celebrity Big Brother. Credit: Channel 4
Kelly was a contestant on Celebrity Big Brother. Credit: Channel 4

Channel 4 later responded to the allegations, saying it did everything it could to offer support to contributors.

"Psychological support was offered to all those featured in the series throughout the filming, during transmission and beyond," a spokesperson said. "Advice was given on the likelihood of criticisms and unpleasant comments on social media.

"All contributors were given guidance on engaging with online communities and social media.

"Following the unprecedented media attention, executives from production returned to Birmingham to provide ongoing support to contributors throughout transmission. Close contact and support continued beyond transmission."

Kelly, who lives in the Handsworth area of Birmingham, now helps run the 'Birmingham says NO - to knife crime and serious youth violence' campaign.

Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock/Channel 4

Topics: TV and Film, UK News

Dominic Smithers
More like this

Chosen for YouChosen for You

News

True story of married couple who disappeared after being left behind on diving trip and never seen again

an hour ago

Most Read StoriesMost Read

Wanted man who is 4ft 9 inches taunts police on social media as he’s still on the run

7 hours ago