What's for dinner? Prawns, pork and lashings of bigotry
Thursday 13 March 1997
A two-hour fly-on-the-wall documentary following the conversation between the guests, described by the film's makers as "dyed-in-the-wool" Tories, will be shown on Channel Four in two weeks.
It should make captivating viewing for those who agree with their views as well as those who find them deeply offensive.
From the moment the prawn St Jacques starter was served - followed by pork with calvados and triple chocolate pudding - and the wine began to loosen tongues, barely a minority group was safe, while wealth and avarice were warmly welcomed.
"If people want to be greedy, they are entitled to be greedy," said one guest, speaking the minds of the whole gathering. "I don't think that anyone is genuinely poor," added Judith, 34, a professional cook.
Catherine, a 31-year-old estate agent believes: "An equal society is not one I think I would love to see in my lifetime."
Her friend Bridget, 36, a lecturer in medieval history considered gays to be "freaks of nature".
Another prejudiced guest around the table, an unemployed man of 41 called Bill, said: "Tony Blair has obviously been told not to smile because he looks like a prat."
Henry, an old Etonian and the second son of a Baronet, took up another line. "I am not keen on black Rastafarian Africans and yet I find the Asian community delightful. The Africans always have their hand out." The programme, for Channel Four's Cutting Edge series, shows viewers a glimpse into the attitudes of predominantly middle-class residents of a town "somewhere in East Anglia".
The film maker, Paul Watson, said the guests, all aged between 31 and 45 and Tory voters, made no secret of their longing for Margaret Thatcher's return, their suspicion of Tony Blair and their belief that Britain is not half as great as it used to be. The programme's brief was to reveal grass-roots Tory thinking in the run-up to the forthcoming general election, just weeks before the country goes to the polls.
The eight friends had agreed to take part after answering an advert in the Sunday Telegraph appealing for guests to "be un-British, tell people who you are going to vote for and why", and "speak your mind at a dinner party".
Mr Watson yesterday made no apology for his film. He was, he said, interested to know what people who had voted Conservative were really thinking and what their pleasures and disappointments were after 18 years of Tory rule.
"I am tired of vested interests and party spokesmen giving people the party line and leaving before they can be interviewed," he said. "This is the grass roots speaking.
"I didn't set out to necessarily have guests who were Conservatives but most Labour voters don't have dinner parties so it wouldn't have been representative."
Mr Watson, who said he did not support any one political party and had no ulterior motive beyond making a watchable documentary, added: "I don't find their views shocking, I find them predictable.
"There are thousands of people out there with similar views and there is nothing in the film that I haven't heard before quite a lot."
"An equal society is not one I think I would love to see in my lifetime." - Catherine, 31, an estate agent.
"Gays are freaks of nature. When Judith and I were young we once had a pony that was a lesbian." - Bridget, 36, a lecturer in medieval history.
"If people want to be greedy, they are entitled to be greedy," and "Tony Blair has obviously been told not to smile because he looks like a prat." - Bill, 41, who is unemployed after a business venture.
"I don't think that anyone is genuinely poor." - Judith, 34, a professional cook.
"I am not keen on black Rastafarian Africans and yet I find the Asian community delightful. The Africans always have their hand out." - Henry, an old Etonian and second son of a Baronet.
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