Positive discrimination for Suffolk

Southwold on a typical summer's day ©Dylan Hearn 2013

Southwold on a typical summer’s day ©Dylan Hearn 2013

According to the Guardian today, the comedian Dara O’Briain has “hit out” at a BBC ban on men-only panel shows. For those of you who are either a) not from the UK; or b) from the UK but have better things to do than worry about the make up of panel shows, a senior member of the BBC has put out an edict banning all men panel shows in an effort to rectify gender imbalance. The fact that such an imbalance exists should be no surprise to those of us who watch QI, Mock the Week and the like. The problem is, according to Dara O’Briain on Twitter, he has said no such thing. What he actually said was that it was wrong to make the edict public, because now talented performers who would have been chosen to be on the show through talent alone, will now be seen as the token woman. He has a point.

Sexiest ginger on the planet - Suffolk's Ed Sheeran (image source: banging-edsheeran.tumblr.com)

Sexiest ginger on the planet – Suffolk’s Ed Sheeran (image source: banging-edsheeran.tumblr.com)

This, though,  got me thinking. Because there is another, much more under-represented group that should be on TV: people from Suffolk. Now you may scoff but name me one person who originated from Suffolk that appears on a panel show. Stumped? Me too. In fact you will do well to name anyone from Suffolk on TV at all. This is a travesty. How could a county that produces talent the likes of Ed Sheeran and er… Bernie Ecclestone be subject to such discrimination? It’s not like the media have never heard of Suffolk, they own most of bloody Southwold after all.

And it’s not like other parts of East Anglia are under-represented. Norfolk, happy to look down on the people of suffolk due to our lack of city status, have their own regional television centre in Norwich, complete with it’s pro-Norwich City Football club version of Pravda – Look East. Norfolk is also the birthplace of Stephen Fry, the charming polymath; actor, comedian, and host of another allegedly mostly misogynistic all male panel show QI. Essex do even better. Because of it’s closeness to London, Essex often appears on television, usually in one of the summer holiday ‘let’s go to the seaside’ episodes of Eastenders where the whole cast end up in Clacton for the week. And of course, they have their very own TV series – The Only Way Is Essex, or TOWIE for those who struggle to remember a string of five words. Yet for Suffolk, other than the TV series Lovejoy – starring Ian ‘f*%$ing’ McShane of Deadwood fame – which finished 20 years ago, and Bill Treacher (Arthur Fowler) who left Eastenders 19 years ago, there is nothing.

Well I’ve had enough.

It’s about time us Suffolk-folk did something about it. To start with, I have a number of suggestions for TV shows based in our beautiful county that could showcase our creativity and talent. For example:

A stunning sea view - Sizewell B (image source: www.bbc.co.uk )

A stunning sea view – Sizewell B (image source: http://www.bbc.co.uk )

The Glowing: a paranormal mystery about strange glowing creatures set in Dunwich, just down from the Sizewell nuclear plant

Bury St Edmund: A gameshow where every week two teams fight it out for the opportunity to lay Noel Edmunds to rest – in Bury St Edmunds

The Pickwick Paperchase: A team of people run around Ipswich, who’s people and streets were the inspirations for Charles Dickens’ Pickwick Papers, trying to find the person most like the round-faced and portly Samuel Pickwick

Lavenham - catnip for wattle & daub junkies (image source: www.britainexpress.com)

Lavenham – catnip for wattle & daub junkies (image source: http://www.britainexpress.com)

The American Tourist – Local people from Lavenham see who can tell the most outrageous tale as historical fact to American Tourists and be believed

You see, we have the talent, we have the ideas, we have the connections – usually blocking the bar at the Lord Nelson, Southwold; there is no reason that the people of Suffolk should carry on being discriminated in this way. If there is enough support, you can expect to see my petition on Change.org soon

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23 thoughts on “Positive discrimination for Suffolk

  1. I don’t think Jo Brand would appreciate being thought of as the token woman.
    As for Suffolk – I think some of your ideas for county based TV shows have potential. How about Extreme Hill Climbing. Sherri would probably apply to take part in that one.

  2. Any portfolio of Suffolk-based TV would be incomplete without a vehicular game-show, let’s call it ‘Road Hogs’ or maybe ‘Blind Bend Date’. Test your wits on Suffolk’s undulating highways and byways. Can you overtake a caravan on a blind bend and live to tell the tale? What blood-pressure score can you achieve when you pull out into oncoming traffic to bypass 15 Mini Metros and a tractor? What speed can you get up to before that rarest of beasts, a 200 yard stretch of dual carriageway, vanishes into thin air? How fast can you come to a dead stop when your junction, a near invisible sliver of tarmac buried within hedgerow, flies past the window? 😉

    • That’s the idea! We do have one very long stretch of dual carriageway, to allow lorries from Europe to drive from Felixstowe to the rest of the country bypassing Suffolk as quickly as possible.
      You can have satnav roulette, punch a postcode into your navigation system and see if you end up in a field…

      • I have played satnav roulette! First time I tried my satnav’s route to Barnby I found fields and an ever-narrowing track. Most disconcerting in the dark.

  3. I can’t think of anyone famous from Suufolk, though they may be keeping that guilty secret quiet. My in-laws have just moved to Sussex from Essex, allegedly to be closer to two daughters but I think it’s because it’s even further from West Wales… (No, they’re not famous either.)

    Tell me, is Lavenham the new Gotham? (The Lincolnshire one, not Bruce Wayne’s home town.) Here’s where they try to rake the full moon out of the pond it’s fallen in and build high hedges to keep the cuckoo in to ensure it’s spring all year.

    • Lots of famous people live in Suffolk (Bill Wyman, Claudia Schiffer, Griff Rhys Jones) but very few have come from Suffolk.
      Lavenham is a beautiful place full of quite wealthy people and not like the Gotham you describe. However, I know of a number of other places where your description is eerily similar.

  4. Famous people from Suffolk? Surely you’re overlooking the national treasure that is Ralph Nathaniel Twisleton-Wykeham-Fiennes, out of Schindler’s Lift, founder of Muggle supermarket chain Voldermart and the man who played Eugene in the 1999 film The Onegin Line? He’s an Ipswich boy. You wouldn’t know it from his accent, moind.

    • There is a company that makes lifts in Germany called Schindlers – true fact and something that brought a giggle each time I saw one.
      If course, the most famous son of Suffolk was the Witchfinder General. Not sure he was big on game shows, other than Bob the Witch…

    • In honour of the gameshow idea, I was very tempted to give you colourful but untruthful explanation, but the truth is that it’s a slightly injured knee. You could also have a dicky knee, or a crook knee if you’re from Australia.

      Of course, a dodgy knee could be a mixed martial arts move used by the great English fighter, Reginald “the tryer’ Pandergast. I’ll let you decide 🙂

  5. Having grown up in Norfolk I went to uni and was immediately barraged with Alan Partridge related questions and jokes. Then I was back at uni for teacher training when Delia Smith did her half-time sherry-fuelled pitch-side rant at Carrow Road. By now fellow students though I came from a land of half-wits and drunks (though I admit that, as a student, I did little to dispel this image). So my warning to Suffolk is this – think carefully before you try to grab that glorious limelight.

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