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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The BBC Effect


We have been enjoying "An Island Parish" on BBC2, a gentle little programme about life on the Isles of Scilly.

Following the episode about the launch of the island's radio station, I was amused to tune into Radio Scilly via the web to find that the live stream is constantly busy because of demand caused by the programme.

It made me muse on "the BBC Effect" and the change it has brought about on the islands. I can't honestly believe that so many changes and life transformations would have happened had it not been for the presence of Nigel Farrell and his film crew. Would the school have got the necessary millions for a rebuild, after countless refusals? Would the Seven Stones pub, and the new artists' workshops, been renovated and reopened so quickly?

Nonetheless it was a great insight into island life and a glimpse into a life that is all but forgotten "on the mainland". Everyone knows each other, entertainment is the pub or amateur dramatics, and in winter the islands are remote as the storms rage and the helicopter flights are cancelled.

It was also apparent that the unity that binds all the islands can also ruthlessly exclude those who don't fit in.


Father Guy, left, the new Anglican priest, was unfortunately a case in point. Ostensibly the whole series was pinned on him and how he left Mullion because he had a calling to go to the Scillies. But somehow he hasn't gelled with the community and recent programmes have hardly focused on him at all. His sermons and whole manner of delivery seems laboured and awkward; he seems quite a shy and introverted person and doesn't go to the pub or take part in the pantomime in the manner of the Methodist minister, Rev David, who in recent programmes has become more prominent.

We thought that Guy might actually leave the islands in the last series but he appears to be gritting his teeth for another year. Time will tell.....

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