Saturday 2 February 2019

"How much more cliched and stereotypical can the BBC get?"

Last year, reviewing Mark Easton's latest 'Englishness' reports, I wrote
And, given that four years ago I titled one of my pieces about Mark's last pro-regionalism foray around the counties of England Mark Easton Baht 'at, I found it amusing (alarming?) that tonight's Mark Easton piece from Yorkshire featured a brass band playing On Ilkla Moor Baht 'at.
(Seriously Mark? Why didn't you go the whole hog and cuddle a ferret whilst taking your clothes off and popping on a cloth cap and walking up a steep cobbled hill with a loaf of bread humming the theme from In Loving Memory?)
And then it was onto Somerset.  
And if you (meaning me), as a non-metropolitan Northerner, felt offended (almost to the point of calling the ever-eager police) about Mark Easton employing (sackable? racist?) stereotypes by using a brass band playing On Ilkla Moor Baht 'at to represent Yorkshire, then please pray, with all your heart and soul, for our poor south-western friends in Somerset (and Sue beyond in Cornwall),.... 
....for, yes, I kid you not, Mark Easton of the BBC really did feature morris dancers from there. And talk of dragons and wassail.  
(The only thing I think he missed here - and this is truly unforgivable, especially given how hard he'd been trying to go for the tried-and-testedly stereotypical before - was to feature The Wurzels singing I Am A Cider Drinker).

Well, this week's Newswatch featured a disgruntled lady from Mansfield complaining about a BBC News at Ten report from Lucy Manning (concerning Brexit, of course): 
Angela Senior, Newswatch viewer: Dear Newswatch. I watched the Ten O'Clock News on Tuesday night with some trepidation, as it was said at the top of the programme there would be a report from Mansfield. As expected, the short report featured an evening silhouette of a disused pithead stock plus an elderly local resident, with a rich local accent to boot, in a Labour club, and - to top it all off - a rendition from a local brass band rehearsal. How much more cliched and stereotypical can the BBC get? This is so totally opposite to the Mansfield area we know. Come on, BBC, it is many years since the coal mines and hosiery mills closed and Mansfield is recovering and regenerating. Please think carefully before you portray this area in such an extreme light.
Still, in fairness to the metropolitan elite types at the BBC, the piece of brass band music being rehearsed there was one of Gustav Holst's Suites for brass band - real favourites of mine. So get your clogs on and off down t pit we go!

Update: Extra images of the colliery from the BBC report....


  1. I’m from Mansfield myself and I’m trying to figure out which remaining disused pit stock they used? The one in Clipstone is nearest but isn’t technically in Mansfield? Thorsby? Again Isn’t in Mansfield. Pleasly? Some would argue it’s not even in the same county! It is the one nearest the M1 and back south though so probably.

    1. Intriguing. I've added the other views of the disused colliery used in the report. Wonder which one it is?

    2. Well, comparing the BBC images with Google images I'd say your 'nearest the M1 and back south' theory is right for why the colliery was chosen as I'm sure it is Pleasley.

  2. Yeah that’s Pleasly it’s the only one with a brick chimney. I wasn’t sure if you’d used photos from the report, or found them from the web.

    Pleasley is right on the border it has a Nottingham postcode but is officially part of Derbyshire. It’s always been a bit controversial exactly which county it’s in! A local parish church was once taken down and moved over the border so it was back in “Robin Hood Country”.

    1. It's fascinating to consider what drives the BBC's nostalgia over the mining industry. Everyone from mining towns and villages say good riddance to 't'pit' and thanks Mrs T for our generous payouts.

      The BBC however, see the Scargill era as a time when there were clearly drawn battle lines - where Labour voters were socialists. Now, the BBC think by playing the nostalgia card, old memories of a golden age of socialism will be reawakened. How mistaken they are.

      The traditional Miner/Labour vote will in the main have been Leave, and their views upon immigration etc are unlikely to chime with those of the BBC. In my experience, many Miners took their sons underground once and only once - just to make sure that they aspired to a life away from mining.

  3. Proves to me that it’s agenda led, quick lads we need to find out why the racists in Mansfield voted over 70% leave? I know lets take some shots of long disused mines and mills and say it’s a deprived area!! We’ll ignore the new business and industrial estates that half the people work in.

    The other half work in other towns and local cities and our most pressing concern is that it’s the lack of decent transport links not jobs that is holding the region back. At least they didn’t find out you can by a five bed detached house for the price of a southern bedsit! they’ll all be moving in....

  4. I remember walking through Mansfield and the neighbouring area 50 years ago nearly...being from the soft south I'd never seen anything quite like it - mile after mile with everything, trees, windows and traffic signs included, covered in black soot. It was horrible! The miners were badly treated by the nation I think as the industry was wound down, but it didn't help that the vainglorious Scargill kept taking "troops" over the top to be mown down by machine gun fire, so to speak. But coal mining is a horrible way to get the energy we need. Natural gas with renewables plus storage is obviously the way to go.


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