Frinton reacts to BBC documentary

VIDEO Community leaders have reacted angrily at a documentary which appears to poke fun at the seaside town of Frinton. Many people in town where captured by a film crew as they campaigned to stop the town's iconic gates being removed and replaced by an electronic barrier.

James Hore

COMMUNITY leaders have reacted angrily at a documentary which appears to poke fun at the seaside town of Frinton.

Many people in town where captured by a film crew as they campaigned to stop the town's iconic gates being removed and replaced by an electronic barrier.

But they did not realise that the footage was for Wonderland , a programme that takes a “sideways” look at life in Britain.

Last night's edition, The Curious World of Frinton-on-Sea, offered a subjective look at the town and some of its inhabitants and suggests that many people living in the resort do so reluctantly and would like to leave, if possible.

Frinton Mayor Terry Allen saw Wonderland and had branded it “cruel”.

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He told the EADT: “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.”

His views were echoed by David Lines, a Frinton resident and leader of Tendring District Council.

He said: “At one level, the documentary was a fascinating, if sometimes painful study of the extremes of social life for older people in a tranquil English seaside resort. At another level, it was unrepresentative and unkind.

“Unrepresentative, in that two thirds of the population, under the age of 60, were never seen and, more generally, the resort was filmed in the middle of winter, a stark contrast to its warmer and busier times during the rest of the year.

“The programme was also unkind because it was a deep intrusion into the lives of a handful of lonely and/or vulnerable people.

“From a technical perspective, it was a good programme that did the job of capturing the interest of its audience. However, from a moral viewpoint, it was wrong - in addition to the psychological voyeurism that was the main feature of the programme, it betrayed the trust of many decent, community-minded people, solely for the titillation of the modern TV audience.

“The camera has the same characteristics as the microscope. It does an excellent job of showing things in stark close-up, but it can rarely show the complete picture, especially if the programme producers choose not to do so.”

A BBC spokeswoman 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.”

Watch the whole film online

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