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Anger over ITV duchess programme

18 August 09 13:25 GMT

Residents are protesting after their south Manchester community was held up as an example of "broken Britain" by the makers of an ITV1 documentary.

Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, is said to have found drugs, crime and a "lack of community spirit" during her trip to Northern Moor, Wythenshawe.

Some residents have been angered by the publicity for the programme and say they live in a safe, family area.

Carol Carter, a resident for 25 years, said people were "up in arms".

In publicity material for the programme, ITV said the duchess had spent 10 days on an estate in Northern Moor "to learn more about the problems of 'broken Britain'".

Residents angered by the trailers were holding a protest in part of the 270-acre Wythenshawe Park, which borders Northern Moor, on Tuesday.

Mrs Carter said she was particularly angered by a television advert for the programme, The Duchess On The Estate.

"My hands went up in absolute horror. I was absolutely rendered speechless," she said.

"The preview is portraying Northern Moor as the worst area in Britain to live.

"We haven't got gangs of gun-wielding, knife-wielding yobs. It's a very, very, very safe and lovely area for families with children."

'Empowering' people

Sarah Ferguson told the BBC she wanted to make the film to unite mothers in the area together.

The result is a new £40,000 community centre which she will take part in running.

"The documentary when it goes out tonight (Tuesday) will be me finding out how we need to change the area to provide hope," said the duchess.

"[It's] me talking to people, me trying to galvanise and inspire and empower all the people who want change to do it themselves."

But Mrs Carter pointed out that the area already had a community centre, called the New Dawn centre, as well as an abundance of clubs and sports facilities.

An ITV spokesperson said the programme was a "fair and accurate portrayal" of the time they filmed on the estate.

"It shows how people want improvements on Northern Moor and (want) to bring back a sense of community spirit," said the spokesperson.

"The show features lots of positive aspects of community life over its two parts including a family fun day and local people speaking passionately to the duchess about what could be done to enhance the area.

"It shows how local businesses and people pulled together to raise the money and work hard to get the centre up and running."

The Duchess On The Estate is broadcast on ITV1 at 2100 BST on Tuesday

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