A PETITION, already signed by 800 people, is calling for the BBC to scrap a documentary looking at a community of Chasidic Jews.

Members of the group have been moving to the island over the past year from North London.

However, hundreds of Canvey residents are sceptical about the show and are worried.

The petition claims the Canvey community will not be shown in a good light - and there are fears residents will be portrayed as “racist bigots”.

It reads: “So how about the BBC shelves a documentary that will bring nothing but resentment and leave nothing but a sour taste for the residents of Canvey Island?”

However, the director of the documentary, Riete Oord, said that this was not the case. She said: “We haven’t finished editing the programme yet so it is unfair for them to call for it be banned.

“They are prejudging it before they have seen it.

“The documentary is very positive.

“It is all about how a group of people with extreme religious beliefs can live alongside a community which does not have the same beliefs.

“We are looking at the cultural differences.”

She said the documentary followed a family who were looking to move from Stamford Hill to the island.

The high property prices in London are forcing the community out and it chose Canvey to relocate to.

A number of Chasidic Jews have already moved to the island over the past year.

It also follows a dinner party organised by Chris Fenwick, owner of the Oysterfleet Hotel and manager of rock band Dr Feelgood.

Members of the Jewish and non-Jewish community are invited to take part, so they can learn more about the ways of the other.

They experience each other’s music, food and cultural responsibilities.

For example, women would not usually sit at the same table as men to eat and they are not allowed to listen to rock music.

Ms Oord, who is an experienced director for the BBC, added: “The petition has really upset the Jewish family.

“It is dividing the community and that is what we didn’t want to do.

“The documentary is really looking at modern Britain and how communities can integrate together in a positive way.

“I have lived amongst the Jews in Stamford Hill for 30 years and was interested in how a community could integrate with a very religious group.”

The documentary, which does not currently have a title, is part of a series of “religious and ethical” programmes which will be shown on BBC1 and BBC2.

Other programmes announced earlier this week will explore how faith and religious belief have driven people to extraordinary acts of creativity, how relevant the medieval rites of pilgrimage are in today’s society and looking at the story of the Protestant Reformation.