i Editor's Letter: The cynicism is sniffable


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The Independent Online

My heart sinks. "They" are to make yet another reality TV show about an area of Britain at which we can all have a good laugh.

Only this time, it's my hometown's time to squirm in the limelight, as the latest freak show Surrey Heights is set in Croydon.

Forget the attempt to recast "the London borough of..." as more Purley than Peckham, what is the point of another variation on the TOWIE, Geordie Shore, Made in Chelsea, Desperate Scousewives theme? It is just another attempt to exploit our dismal, debilitating class snobbery. Whether it's laugh at the stupid toffs (Made in Chelsea) or laugh at the stupid common people (the rest), the cynicism is sniffable.

"People don't see Croydon as a particularly glamorous place but there is a lot of stuff going on," the putative producer Aimee Butcher told the Croydon Guardian. "Some people think Croydon is a rough place and it's not. We are going to highlight the good but also recognise the bad, but in a good way." And, if that isn't enough to reassure you...

The devastating Reeves Furniture store blaze became the symbol of last summer's riots; the photograph of Monika Konczyk leaping from the fire is now iconic. Croydon is often in the news, usually for negative reasons. Mayor Boris paid a rare post-riot visit, pledging a Croydon Task Force led by Pret-a-Manger's Julian Metcalfe. Luckily, he makes his sandwiches quicker. Croydon not only still waits to feel the force, but also (for many businesses) to receive any compensation.

It's not funny! A town that not only gave us Abigail's Party, Terry and June, Dame Peggy Ashcroft and Sir David Lean, but Captain Sensible, Ronnie Corbett, Martin Clunes, Kate Moss, Derren Brown, Dane Bowers and "the Croydon facelift" deserves a lot better. Um, on second thoughts...