Friday, 2 March 2012

Rach does TV: A week of documentaries.

It’s been a busy week.

This week’s Coppers was the last in series, and saw a gentler method of policing in the sleepy Scottish Highlands. In fact, it was so sleepy that a former Glasgow copper told us that when he first moved from the inner-city, ‘I thought my radio didnae work.’ 

No mate, there’s just no crime.

So in Pitlochry, which made the town from Heartbeat look like Downtown LA, we did get to witness a Saturday night drug bust. One lad, caught outside the local pub was in possession of a small amount of crack. Luckily, he was caught in Pitlochry, and as such benefited from the ‘slap on the wrist’ approach to drug-crime. Turns out the coppers knew the lad’s family, so as long as he headed straight home, avoiding the pub on his way, they’d say no more about it.


Tuesday saw the controversial Channel 4 Documentary, My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding, which this week featured surprisingly few weddings. Of course there was still ample airtime given to large dresses, fake tan and ‘bling.’

This episode focused primarily on the plight of the girls in the gypsy communities, highlighting the fact that very few stay in school beyond the age of ten or eleven. Mary, an 8 year old preparing for her first Holy Communion, seemed to have never even heard the term GCSE.

One teenager, Angel, offered a glimpse of hope for the whole of womenkind. She had continued her education in the hope of a life beyond child-baring and housewifery. The tragedy was that she was bullied by both sides for her choice.  Her school peers excluded her as a pikey, her community couldn’t understand her choice.

For the rest of the girls, the future held marriage, babies and bleach - a life of semi-servitude at the beck and call of men who rarely seem to deserve it.

And finally, last night saw Making Bradford British.

This much publicised documentary declared itself to be an attempt to discover what "Britishness" is and whether multiculturalism can really be achieved.

So what happened?

Less than one minute it, and over his pint a ‘gentleman’ barks, “If a dog’s born in a stable, it doesn’t make it a horse does it?” I can only assume that in this intellectual metaphor the dog was a ‘non-white’ person and the horse was the essence of being ‘British.’

Brilliant, best get a bigot in the opening credits I always think.

8 people, all of whom were born and bred in Bradford, and all of whom had failed the British citizenship, were put in a house together.

“I cannot think how any intelligent, rational person can be a racist,” said Maura, a posh 66 year old magistrate. No Maura, neither can I. Cue talk of ‘paki-bashing’ and arguments about trips to the mosque.

“The colour of your skin is absolutely irrelevant, but if you’re a dick head – you’re a dick head,” was Maura’s forceful conclusion.

And I couldn’t agree more, but all in all people got on. Because through conversation and compromise came understanding.

Until next week of course, when they’re moving into each other’s homes and communities, and I’ve got a funny feeling the dick heads might be out in force.

For twitter commentary on all hard hitting (and less hard hitting) channel 4 documentaries, follow me @brownrach

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