Gashead's Blog Wonders


Welcome To Romford, Not Essex

A new "Essex" programme appeared on the horizon the other day, Welcome To Romford Unfortunately Channel 4 describe it as :

Relationships, friendships, minicabs, love and loneliness in Essex, as First Cut spends a busy night with a Romford taxi firm

All well and good apart from the fact that Romford is not in Essex.

The actual programme description presents a film that sounds very innovative, but by headlining it with the Essex word the comments are already anticipating another field day for the anti-Essex bigots. I fear many will avoid an interesting film because they expect it to be like that and the usual Twitter bigots will be lined up to take cheap shots.

I pointed out to Channel 4 the error of their ways :

On the Channel 4 website this show is trailed as "Relationships, friendships, minicabs, love and loneliness in Essex, as First Cut spends a busy night with a Romford taxi firm". Romford is not in Essex and hasn't been within the lifetime of the majority of your viewers. Any references to the county in this manner would appear to be pandering to the ill-informed stereotype encouraged by Miss Cilla Black on Blind Date.

But I don't think the responder got what I was saying, certainly not with regard to the basic geographical error :

Thank you for contacting Channel 4 Viewer Enquiries regarding WELCOME TO ROMFORD.

We are sorry to hear that you feel this the trailers for this programme are misrepresentative of Essex. Please be assured your complaint has been logged and noted for the information of those responsible for our programming.

Thank you again for taking the time to contact us. We appreciate all feedback from our viewers; complimentary or otherwise.

A great number of people who live in Romford, both young and old, proudly declare they are from Romford, Essex. It is a beautiful county with unspoiled coastline, charming villages and friendly people living away from London's urban sprawl and untroubled by anything but a sliver of motorway. Every week on Blind Date there was a Clur from Liverpool and somebody very boisterous and unsubtle from Essex, or at least it seemed that way to me. The "from Essex" intro always got a big cheer, never qualified by where in Essex they actually came from. Cilla would stand there grinning like an idiot knowing the viewing figures demanded this Essex stereotype to further the myth that people from Essex are somehow different, lacking in self-respect and by geographical definition immoral.

The "Essex" tag gets viewers in as it is considered fair game for unleashing bigotry that would be classed along the same lines as racism or misogyny were it about other subjects. "Big Fat Gypsy Weddings" is another show on Channel 4 which provokes comments on Twitter similar to the kind of rhetoric used in Germany during the last century directed towards the same community. It is a great shame TV continues to propagate myths about life in Essex, easy targets = good viewing figures but not good television.

Comments (2) Trackbacks (1)
  1. Could not agree more Gassy. Though, as you rightly say, the viewing figures will always lead the way.

  2. Too many ‘Fessexites’ in Romford. A Fessexite is a person who lives in an east London borough but makes out that the area they live in is Essex when it blatently ain’t. Basicly a Fessexite is a fake Essex person.

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