By Tim Dickens, co-editor
When I first saw talk of a Brixton-based reality television show, alarm bells rang.
It’s the kind of story that will get Twitter tongues wagging and prompt instant outrage/excitement/disbelief* round these parts, but all was not as it seemed.
Artwork for the “production” first popped up on the Brixton forum boards of Urban 75 last week, but gave no details of any production company that could be behind such a bid.
It was only a matter of time, of course, that it would pop up on my Google Alerts. Alas, this morning it appeared on the Sun website’s spurious TVbiz section.
The Standard too has picked up on it, with Brixton local Miranda Bryant quoting comments from Brixton Buzz and ringing up Rosie Lovell for a quote. Sadly, @Mirandeee fails to track down any actual producers, wannabe or otherwise, to firm up her story.
This “Sun Exclusive” only confirmed to me that such a plan (if indeed there was one) will never see the light of day. The article, which deploys a classic Sun unattributed “quote” could have been written in the 1990s with its outdated and offensive image of Brixton.
The absurd citation waffles on:
“Any show based in the area will be a million miles away from the spoilt lives featured in Towie and MIC.
“You can’t imagine Spencer Matthews or Ollie Locke having a pint in a backstreet boozer off Brixton High Street.
“And while the Towie cast like to think they’re streetwise, you probably wouldn’t see them out in south London after dark.
Anybody who lives in the town today, however, will recognise this as utter tosh. The real complaint of many Brixtonites is that a “gentrified” Brixton is becoming exactly the kind of place you’d see the over-privileged Spencer Matthews and Ollie Locke, knocking back a couple of Mojitos in Brixton Village’s latest “pop up” bar.
The article also makes reference to the “rough and ready” Dogstar pub, today mostly populated by well-heeled 20-somethings looking for a trouble free night out.
The Sun does not enlighten us as to who gave such a bonkers quote, but does accurately report that “the show has not been signed over to a broadcaster” before going on to say that a number of channels are interested in the format.
This Twitterstorm of nonsense made me think of some locally-based reality TV that really is worth chatting about. 24 Hours in A&E is filmed at Kings College Hospital down Coldharbour Lane in Denmark Hill. Last night, and consistently, the documentary showed how our wonderful NHS workers strive to patch us up when we have an accident, saving lives on a daily basis. This is the reality of Brixton that should be celebrated on’t telly.
The beauty of Brixton town is precisely that it can’t be categorised and neatly placed in a package for a television show, even a faux-reality one.
If Made in Brixton ever appears on our screens, I’ll eat my hat. In the meantime, we’ll concentrate on celebrating the best of real life Brixton on the Blog and in the Bugle.