Frinton documentary defended by BBC

VIDEO The executive producer of a BBC documentary about Frinton-on-Sea has defended the programme - but voiced his regret that some residents found it “uncomfortable”.

THE executive producer of a BBC documentary about Frinton-on-Sea has defended the programme - but voiced his regret that some residents found it “uncomfortable”.

Frinton mayor Terry Allen wrote to BBC bosses to express his outrage in the aftermath of Wonderland - the Curious World of Frinton-on-Sea, which was screened on BBC Two in March.

The documentary focused on the town's battle to stop its railway gates being changed from manual-operated to automatic barriers.

It also highlighted three individuals from the town who agreed to be filmed, talking about their lives as well as showing the railway gate campaigners collecting signatures for a petition and holding public meetings.

After writing to the BBC voicing his concerns about the programme's portrayal of the town, Mr Allen received a reply from executive producer Nicholas Mirsky voicing his regret that some viewers had found the film “uncomfortable”.

But he defended film-maker Marc Isaacs, saying he had been “moved by the lives of the people he met in Frinton” and that Wonderland had both humour and warmth.

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Part of the letter read: “I am also aware that people objected to the fact that Marc's film about Frinton is selective and narrowly 'elderly' in the people he featured.

“In a proudly and self-consciously old-fashioned town with a large elderly population and a fierce campaign against changes that Network Rail were about to introduce, it is true that Marc was more interested in the stories of older people.

“I would not for a moment claim that his film represented the demographic of Frinton, and I am now aware that that is frustrating to people in a way that I had not anticipated.”

Mr Allen said yesterday: “It is alright to be sensationalist but you expect a little bit more from the BBC which is owned by us, the people of England.”

He said he had taken phone calls from as far away as Kent and London from people who were upset by the portrayal of Frinton and its residents.

But he said he considered the matter finished and added: “We have expressed everything that we want to to the BBC.”

A BBC spokesman said: “'The Curious World of Frinton-on-Sea is an authored documentary and as such is the director Marc Isaacs's take on what he found when he visited Frinton.

“It is not intended to be representative of the entire town, but a subjective look at the lives of a small selection of people who live there.”

“The film did not ridicule vulnerable people but simply portrayed some eccentricities of life, in what is a very English town, with warmth as well as humour.”

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