That’s Britain (and Ireland)!

Well, it had to happen eventually. I actually watched a programme whose title was prefixed with the words “My Big Fat Gypsy.” For this week’s pre-festive Telly Addict on the Guardian website, I took a deep breath and reviewed the seasonal one-off My Big Fat Gypsy Christmas on C4, which to the uninitiated might sound like it’s about big fat gypsies but whose title is in fact a lingering play on the nine-year-old film My Big Fat Greek Wedding, except with the word Wedding now taken out. It was still about weddings, as the Irish travelling community hold a lot of their weddings at Christmas in their spiritual home, Rathkeale in County Limerick, where they pitch up for three weeks each year. See, I learned something about the travellers there, but I learned more about the programme makers’ prurient and exploitative interest in the travellers for entertainment.

I actually edited some of my own bile for this awful programme strand from my script, but looking back on the final edit, I think the clips of deluded little princesses in their finery and/or bondage gear speak for themselves. There is a programme to be made about the travellers, but this cheap tat isn’t it. Anyway, fortunately for Telly Addict – and my fervent desire not to imitate Charlie Brooker – the tone is raised by This Is England ’88, also reviewed, which is of course on the same, schizophrenic channel. Channel 4: your one-stop shop for some of the best and worst TV of the year!

Also, prompted by my old pals at TV Cream, I cast an eye over BBC1’s That’s Britain. Next week, I plan on doing a festive-specials-only. And the week after that, it’s my review of 2011, which will go live sometime around New Year’s Eve. What a thrilling new development for 2011 Telly Addict has been for me. I remain grateful to the digital republic of the Guardian for granting me access to the building, and to the most repellent of the newspaper’s online comment brigade for giving me a wide berth, by and large, or so it seems.

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