A FLY-on-the-wall documentary about Wigan Council sparked a huge response on social media after being aired on primetime TV.
Don’t Blame The Council, shown on ITV on Tuesday evening, seems to have sharply divided audiences and critics with its portrayal of how the town hall is trying to maintain services in the face of government cuts.
The programme showed local authority staff clocking off early in order to play darts and table tennis and used subtitles for some of its interviews with the borough’s residents.
While Wigan Council’s Twitter account was active during the show with positive tweets and retweets, many others vented anger at the programme. Some expressed disppointment at the employees being shown while others claimed the makers had made Wigan look ridiculous.
The local authority has this morning remained tight-lipped about the show, despite the heavy criticism.
Some of the more sore subjects included council employees voicing concerns about The Deal while another admitted to going home early before coming back in to clock off.
Marie Forshaw said on Facebook: “It was embarrassing, when the councillor rang to complain about the generator he didn’t even let Dave speak, says it all.
“No wonder he made him ill. People sat in offices with no clue about what is going on.”
Chris Farrimond added: “The council’s ability to waste money was summed up by them sending 6 men and two vans to do an hours jet washing for £15.”
Julie Kocot wrote: “I want a rebate on my council tax coz I work damned hard for my money and this was a complete and utter shambles - it showed Wigan people as complete and utter garbage, time wasters and scrounging dirty layabouts. I’m disgusted to say I live in Wigan.”
Some offered their sympathy for the council though, blaming the programme makers for manipulating the footage in the editing process.
On Twitter, @Hirstysleftpeg posted: “Been edited to put @WiganCouncil in a bad light me thinks. #dontblamethecouncil”
Phil Ainscough said: “I think the editing and some of the council staff’s personal views painted both the Wigan people and the town in a negative light.
“I just hope it does not damage the town personally i think it was a mistake by the council letting this programme air .
“Good on the guy who got in the drain he is the sort of staff the council need not the ones who want to play darts and sleep. if your work is done clock off and stop wasting tax payers’ money.”
Did you see Don’t Blame The Council? What did you think? Join the debate here at Wigan Today or at www.facebook.com/wigan.today