Frinton 'mocked' in BBC programme

THERE has been an angry reaction to a television documentary which appears to mock the seaside town of Frinton, with residents saying it is a misrepresentation.

James Hore

THERE has been an angry reaction to a television documentary which appears to mock the seaside town of Frinton, with residents saying it is a misrepresentation.

The coastal town features in the next episode of the BBC series Wonderland which chronicles unusual lives and stories from around the UK.

The programme, called The Curious World of Frinton-on-Sea, focuses on the battle against Network Rail's plans to replace the town's iconic railway gates with an automatic version.

The filmmakers claim it is a town that “doesn't like change” and that the “shops, the sea front and even the people haven't changed for decades”.

But the depiction of the town, which has just one pub, has not gone down well with some saying it seems to be making fun of the people involved and ignores Frinton's many qualities.

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Director Marc Isaac's Frinton is like a ghost town at times, with repeated shots of deserted beaches and empty benches and focuses in detail on just a few people while youngsters are ignored.

Many of those interviewed talk about how they dislike it - one man says he was “mislead” into moving there, while another claims “a lot of people who never wanted to live here are still here and don't know why”.

But yesterday, people spoke fondly of Frinton - which some say attracts visitors because of what it does not have.

Frinton Mayor Terry Allen said: “This could really affect people - those involved with the crossing campaign are people who do excellent work in the community.

“This appears to completely misrepresent what Frinton is all about. The town is vibrant and people have vibrant social lives.”

Town councillor Nick Turner said: “We are proud of being provincial and having beliefs and values.”

Margaret Wilsher's shop, Dickens Curios, is featured in the film, but the 65-year-old said it was a fair depiction.

She said: “I just like Frinton in general. It is a nice place to live. We do get a lot of young people here these days and things happen which never used to happen.”

Building society manager Peter Irwin, 23, said: “I lived here from when I was a boy to 21 and it was a nice place to grow up.

“There are the three sports clubs - cricket, tennis and golf - and there are plenty of young people around. It is not just a place for elderly people.”

His brother Ian, 47, works next-door as the manager of Trowbridge Estate Agents, and said: “I have been here since 1965 and I would not want to move away.

“It is fantastic being by the seaside. There is a great beach and it is nice and safe for the kids. It is better than being in Clacton.”

Christopher “Blink” Baker, 22, rents a room in the town and said he would be happy to settle.

The barworker said: “You get the people who come in here who think they are above you, but then, there are plenty of down to earth sorts too.

“It is quite an old fashioned place and there is not a lot for the youngsters to do - they would choose Clacton or Colchester for pubs and clubs.”

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

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

n The programme will be shown on BBC2 on Wednesday, March 12 at 9.50pm.

n What do you think? Email us at eadtletters@eadt.co.uk, but include your postal address, write to Letters to the Editor, EADT, 30 Lower Brook St, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP4 1AN, fax a letter on 01473 324871, or discuss on www.eadt.co.uk

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