Saturday, 13 May 2006


<![CDATA[ I was told (as I don't watch Channel 4) that a program called Wife Swap featured someone from Lewis swapping places with her counterpart from Lancashire. The program was repeated on one of C4's subsidiary channels. Four-letter-word television is the best description. The lady from the island stating she had made a hermit's existence up here with her family didn't help proceedings, neither did the erroneous statements about the proximity of shops. Within Lewis, you're never further than 25 miles from Stornoway. And never further than a few miles from a shop, even if it's only one with the bare necessities. I don't want to waste space on this blog on her counterpart from further south. Suffice to say I was so appalled I turned off the TV after 20 minutes.

I would expect this level of depravity from Channel 4, but I feel sure that the Castaway program (from 2000) is still unfondly remembered in the islands. The only positive spin-off from that series was publicity for the fantastic scenery in this part of the world. Castaway was a misconception from the start. Does anyone expect people to show any real commitment to a project to build a community, knowing it's going to end in 12 months' time? The on-screen rows pulled the whole scene down, and in a way badly reflected on the Hebrides as a whole.

I just do not understand why the islands at the fringes of the United Kingdom always have to be shown off as backwards and stuck in the dark ages. We are not. You have to work with the circumstances you are confronted with. You're on an island. You are in a remote location.

Let's have some television that shows the islands in a positive light. And that is eminently possible. For instance, tonight I spoke to someone who remarked on the number of smart new houses being built in the island. At the positive developments flowing from community ownership. When, BBC, are we going to see a program on that aspect of life in the island? ]]>

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