Fury grows over The Scheme

The community made infamous by BBC documentary The Scheme have slammed the broadcaster's decision to repeat the series nationwide.

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Residents of Kilmarnock's Onthank area joined local politicians in condemning the BBC's move, accusing it of further exploiting the community for the sake of viewing figures.

The show began broadcasting nationwide this week, prompting three prominent politicians to release a joint statement.

The statement, released by East Ayrshire Council leader Dougie Reid, Kilmarnock and Irvine Valley MSP Willie Coffey and Kilmarnock and Loudoun MP Cathy Jamieson, reads: "For more than 12 months, the people of Onthank have endured the devastating impacts of this programme and the misrepresentation of their community, but enough is enough.

"Once again the community of Onthank, tagged by the BBC for dramatic effect as "The Scheme", is being further exploited by the broadcaster's decision to repeat the programme nationwide.

"This decision, by a widely respected public institution, has left the community angered.

"Onthank is a community with spirit, a community with aspirations, a community that cares. In common with areas all over the UK there are individuals and families who have difficulties. However, the portrayal of the community in the programme gives an unbalanced picture."

The first two episodes of the fly-on-the-wall documentary, which made unlikely celebrities of some of its heroin-ravaged "stars" and their families, were first broadcast on BBC Scotland last year. The later episodes were then postponed because of a series of court cases involving some of the people featured on The Scheme.

In May this year, the four-part series was shown in its entirety after the various court cases reached their conclusions.

Onthank community activist Jim Caddis, 57, agrees with the politicians that The Scheme has damaged the reputation of the area, but has called on them to do more to tackle the issues affecting the estate.

He said: "It's all well and good for the politicians to say they don't want to see the show on TV, but maybe they should instead be doing more to address the issues.

"The show has done a lot of damage and it has painted the area to be something that it is not.These issues affect every community in Scotland, not just Onthank.

"My view when the show started was that it was a good thing because it highlighted a lot of problems that had long been ignored, such as anti-social behaviour and drug abuse.

"But as time went on and the media latched on to it, it started to do real damage to the area's reputation."

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