Chelmsley Wood Baptist Church faith//hope//love

  • Episode 2!

    And the thrilling saga continues! This week, “ha ha, person with no qualifications and a Brummie accent wants to be a solicitor” and “aahhh, Brummies who live in a flat have a poorly bab”.

    I don’t think Sade really wants to be a solicitor. I met one of the staff members at the college and was told that the producers asked her to think of a job that needed qualifications and so that is what she went for. The fact that she didn’t show up for the test is indicative that she knows in her heart that this probably isn’t right, although she still seems blissfully unaware of the cynical way she is being manipulated to provide entertainment (or as Dragonfly TV call it ‘fearless factual television’).

    This week they focussed on people’s dreams. Whilst some came off well, Pete the wrestler for instance came across as someone working on his ambition (despite violent grannies), others were made to look foolish. In the harsh and cynical light of the ‘reality’ camera I suspect most of us would look foolish if we shared our innermost dreams and ambitions. We all have dreams and secret hopes, I wouldn’t hand mine over to a TV show to parade, which is perhaps why I’m not on it. (FYI, they did ask, but I refused because they couldn’t afford my fees and also said I would have to keep my clothes on.)

    The programme is still struggling with geography (something most of would regard as a fairly straightforward thing to get right if you were being ‘factual’), whilst there were lots of shots of blocks of flats (and actually a few nice shots of the natural environment), most of the action took place elsewhere. At one point we were told “We’re in Smith’s Wood, which is a part of Chelmsley Wood’. I suspect he was told to say this to justify the lack of Chelmsley Wood in a program about Chelmsley Wood. No-one in Smith’s Wood or Chelmsley Wood would say they are the same place. However, we are in the realms of fulfilling stereotypes, it has to be a certain type of person in a certain area, and if that can’t be found, we make the material fit.

    This week we had a more passive/aggressive approach, the young couple with the baby was touching, and the show swung between “warm and cosy” and “haha you loser”. The show was far less controversial this week, but still just as damaging. I’ve put a link to a site that has researched this kind of ‘poverty porn’ on communities, and particularly on young people, who BBC3 and Dragonfly TV aimed this program at.

    It is damaging because people will believe the lie that this is what Chelmsley Wood is like, it will feed the stigma they already face here. For some of them, it will spur them on, to disprove the stereotype. For others it will be another nail in the coffin, another part of the trap to keep their aspirations and positivity low.

    It’s a shame because Dragonfly TV can produce warm and human shows, One Born Every Minute is an example of it. Unfortunately they reveal their cynical side in programs like this where they show no concern for the effect their ‘factual’ prejudices will have on the community long after they have taken their pay cheque and gone.

    Take a look:




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Neil (the minister) occasionally gets round to blogging so welcome to the trivia and ramblings of an erratic stream of consciousness.

Because we try to be properly Baptist, these views aren't necessarily the views of everyone who is part of the church family here.

We're not even sure they're Neil's.

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