Sunday Night is Ukip TV Night!

Not for the first time on a Sunday evening me and the wife settled down to watch a new series, and not for the first time she found herself on her own after 15 or 20 minutes. For I’ve just given up on another Sunday television series, this time The Village, on BBC 1. Tonight, as before, it seemed as if somebody in the distant past had hit on a formula – lost England, sensitive boy, mysterious woman, a few weirdos, etc – and now the formula is being flogged to death.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a sucker myself for ‘the England that is lost’. Two of my very favourite poems deal with a similar theme; Goldsmith’s Deserted Village and Gray’s Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard. A few decades later comes Cobbett, who may have got a few things wrong in Rural Rides, but thunders and fulminates his prejudices in a way that few since have been able to equal. (And I for one envy.) But of course, these are works of genius, written by men who cared and felt . . . not ‘writers’ banging stuff out with one eye on the US market.

I say that because it’s glaringly obvious that the England being presented in these Sunday evening nostalgia-wallows must resonate with our transatlantic cousins. It must correlate with their preconceptions of Ye Olde England. In fact, I’ve mentioned writers, but these bloody things are now so formulaic that there could be a computer program doing it all. As I write this an electronic intelligence could be churning out She Was Only An Ostler’s Daughter But She Knew Where To Get Her Oats.

The other thing that causes the old grey matter concern is why Larkrise meets Downton seems to be the dominant ‘drama’ genre on prime-time television. For a start, it’s questionable how real these depictions of bygone England are, outside the misconceptions of Elmer and Lulu-Belle in Cincinnati. So what sort of an England do these ‘dramas’ portray? Perhaps most obviously, it is a very structured society, in which everyone knows their place. There is an Empire on which the sun never sets. Johnny Foreigner is either patronised or given a jolly good kicking. And there are never – how can I put this? – ‘persons of colour’ in these works. Everyone is white, English and Christian. That’s it! – this is Ukip TV!

For this ‘drama’ format is nothing less than a form of national escapism for our English neighbours. These regular Sunday fantasies are the England many of them would like to return to. If Monsieur Farage was put in charge of the BBC (and the way things are going, who’s to say he won’t?) we’d probably have some mustachioed old fart in the 1890s, with uncanny foresight, warning that ‘England’ should never enter into any political or economic union with her continental neighbours.

All of which I can understand. Those English who don’t believe that the X Factor is the most important thing happening are confused and worried by a country clearly on the slide. What I cannot understand is why this nationalistic and escapist dross is forced on us Welsh. Haven’t we got a computer program of our own that could produce something better? Perhaps even writers?

5 thoughts on “Sunday Night is Ukip TV Night!

    1. Jac

      You obviously see things differently, but here in Wales, to the Welsh, Ukip is the ultimate, and unacceptable, expression of Englishness.

  1. I tried to watch it tonight (“Her Indoors” recorded it last night). Like you, I gave up after about half an hour – as did the missus & she’s a Scouser! Apart from the poor content that you commented on, I found the whole thing so disjointedly put together and portrayed so badly by second rate actors that it did my head in & I lost patience with the story-line.

    My guess is most of the inhabitants of Ingerland – including Monsieur Farage probably did the same!

    Badly camouflaged crap. I’m finding that huge sections of the upper echelons of the English government & by extension their “Aunty Beeb” are losing touch with reality these days. The posh boys are running around like headless chickens & panicking, because the peasants are getting seriously restless during these times of economic pressure. Their clumsy attempts at calming things down might just go part way to explaining what Village and similar rubbish that’s being served up at the moment is all about! Reminds me of WW2 propaganda material to keep the British (English) Empire chins up.

    It gets worse, with Salmond up north about to slip off the leash and God forbid – a record “rugger” loss to us Welsh at Cardiff a couple of weeks ago! Even the Swans are beating their untouchables & try as they may to muffle the games on Match of the Day they’re forced to show them (right at the end mind). Little wonder they’re losing their mojo!


  2. Dym Ty Fi

    Escape the “forced dross” by ordering The Guardian Goggles. Offer closes at 11:59am today.

  3. Brychan

    The point you fail to make Jac, is that England and is culture is also subverted by the British state. Twee dramas from ‘Upstairs Downstairs’ to ‘The Village’ just represents a denial of English culture and history. A form of escapism can only work if you are escaping from something more real.

    The BBC has rarely produced drama based on the reality of life in England, Boys from The Black Stuff and exception, which the British Government tied to ban. Has the BBC got the guts to do ‘reality drama’ ? Perhaps drama on a black slave in Bristol, the Norman massacres in Yorkshire, press ganged paupers sent to the Empire. England has a rich and diverse history and culture of its own, and it’s not necessarily that which is depicted by the BBC or ‘preferred view’ of their realm by the British state. The view of real England is not the chocolate box picture of church and village, a rural idyll no more than Scotland is some kind of caricature of kilted men blowing bagpipes on a shortbread box, or as the Welsh are often depicted, sheep worrying funny language mumbling singing coal miners.

    Real England.

    This false veneer of ‘people’ is a failure of the British state subverts the real history and culture of these nations, England included. This is why any BBC programme about England that includes cotton mills, car factories, and shipbuilding are only depicted as ‘documentaries’. Too close to home to encompass the genre of ‘drama’, and possibly a product that cannot be flogged to the Americans, and certainly not issues the BBC would want to depict as ‘twee’ or ‘glorious’.

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