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Cornwall With Caroline Quentin - great for tourism, excruciating for the locals

By LeeTrewhela  |  Posted: January 08, 2013

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SOMETIMES you have to face those horrors in life, the moments that make you recoil, question your very being … and make you realise you should have watched EastEnders on the other side.

Just a few minutes ago I did something I swore I never would again – I watched the first episode of the second series (yes, another was commissioned) of Cornwall With Caroline Quentin on ITV1.

I sat open-mouthed at the couple of episodes I caught last year, incredulous at the twee, often mindless portrayal of the county of my birth. Aimed so wholeheartedly at a certain demographic, the programme had to have been financed by the very second homeowners to whom it so obviously pandered.

It was one long advert for the idyllic Cornwall that I'm sure only exists in lifestyle magazines and the odd Betjeman poem.

Tonight's opening was a slightly more professional look at the Helford river and Roskilly's ice cream if still repetitive and mundane. The fact that beautiful Trebah will gain more visitors and the worthy seal sanctuary was featured is welcome.

I'm not going to be so churlish as to deny the good a programme like this will do for tourism and I imagine Visit Cornwall is unundated with emails and calls as soon as Caroline smashes another pasty into her face and the ad break looms.

Indeed, earlier today I received a press release from the Pentillie estate eagerly trumpeting their appearance in the new series, and who can blame them when it reaches a peak audience of 4.6 million?

But a little realism among the cake and coves wouldn't go amiss. A food bank in Wadebridge was featured on the BBC's Inside Out half an hour before – perhaps Caroline should hand out her cream teas there?

Plymouth-based programme makers Twofour and the comedy actress herself – who loves Cornwall so much she lives in Tiverton, Devon – have promised this series will "delve further into the Westcountry heartland, exploring tales of community spirit and personal endeavour, past and present".

I doubt that will mean the heartland of Redruth and Camborne, still one of the poorest areas of Europe, or Penzance which is now looking like a retail graveyard. But I may be wrong – perhaps Heartlands itself, the mining heritage centre, which is trying so hard to reignite a dying area will receive some decent coverage.

I'm afraid I'm not the only one who is far from a fan. Last week I tweeted and Facebooked a "warning" the series was returning.Here are just some of the replies:"It does nothing for a sustainable Cornish economy, just promotes a two-tier Kernow.""The last series made my blood boil.""Gave her a dose of my mind at the Newlyn Fish Festival asked her if she cared for Cornwall's young and the curse of second homes.""Gahhh! Twee little Cornwall filled with posh weirdos. Might have to throw out my TV."

Tellingly, tweets during tonight's programme revealed that people outside the county love it, but those living here are more sceptical; towards the presenter more than the content it would seem.
I work next to a reporter who's originally from Liverpool. When she returns home, her friends and family rave about the programme.

So if it's putting us and our undoubtedly wondrous county (I wouldn't live here if it wasn't) in a good light beyond the Tamar maybe we should turn a blind eye, turn it off and let the rest of the country enjoy the myth.

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  • rod clark  |  January 10 2013, 6:37AM

    complete utter rubbish, let's have some interesting facts about the best county in the UK

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  • Little Escapes  |  January 09 2013, 2:59PM

    It may not show the hard truths or even the best bits about life in Cornwall, but it will encourage visitors and in turn, money will be injected into the local economy through those visitors. Not everyone is a 2nd home owner outside the county, there are local tourist businesses and hoteliers trying to make an honest living and the local shops, restaurants, pubs, attractions, charities & cafe's will all benefit, which in turn benefits the farmers, suppliers and so on - even if visitors shop in supermarkets (personally I try to support farm shops) the supermarkets obviously employ local residents. I think to fully appreciate the program, it has to be viewed not as a 'real life' documentary about your beloved Cornwall, (everyone has their own views on what makes Cornwall special) but as a simple holiday advertisement, let's face it no advert shows you the down side of a product! Tourism is still a big contribution to the Cornish economy, even given the massive choice of places on offer to consumers both in the UK and abroad - don't underestimate the value tourism makes to your local economy and the knock on benefits along that chain, I believe it's an industry that should be nurtured and embraced - but then I am a Travel Agent!

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  • MusicMaid  |  January 09 2013, 9:21AM

    Positive tv on Cornwall can bring tourists and money into the county so cant be all bad.

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  • Big_Ger  |  January 08 2013, 6:46PM

    Maybe the nationalists should do a program on how depressing and dire their Cornwall is, how they have no work and cannot afford to live in the "country "of their birth. They could tell the tale of how they have the power to veto Westminster Law and only the kindness of their hearts stops them using it! That woudl make riveting viewing, I'm sure it woudl be a hit show.

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  • MarjProops  |  January 08 2013, 5:20PM

    There are a lot of people who don't live in Cornwall who will find this program helpful when they're are deciding where to go on holiday this year. It is a commercial for tourism not a documentary about Cornwall and I for one think it does a brilliant job of promoting the county. All those who can't stand it because it doesn't reflect their miserable lives should switch off or watch something else!.

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  • cliffwalker2  |  January 08 2013, 4:59PM

    by bravetalk -'To not even reference the fact that a sizeable minority of Cornish people completely reject the whole 'county' construction, to not touch upon the Cornish language, to not mention the massive economic divide etc etc - that is just shoddy, arrogant, centralist and does no-one in Cornwall any good.' It's a tourism TV programme for heavens sake. The Scots plug Edinburgh and the Highlands / Islands, not Glasgow's Gorbals or whatever replaced it. Anyway, 60% of Cornwall's population stated their ethnicity as solely English in the 2011 Census, another 15% as English/Cornish and only 10% as solely Cornish. That doesn't look like a sizeable minority completely rejecting the county construction.

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  • VCornwall  |  January 08 2013, 3:46PM

    Just over 4 million people tuned in to watch Cornwall with Caroline Quentin last night giving Cornwall a massive profile boost. This type of publicity is invaluable to Cornwall's tourism industry especially at this time of the year when holiday planning is high on the agenda. We couldn't dream of buying a prime-time ITV slot sandwiched between two episodes of one of the nation's favourite soaps so for Cornwall to receive it for free is truly incredible. The first series attracted up to 4.6 million viewers each week and prompted 30,000 extra people to visit our official online visitor guide, visitcornwall.com. The second instalment looks set to be equally impressive with over 2,000 people landing on visitcornwall.com last night alone - this can only be of benefit to Cornwall with our attractions, accommodation providers, restaurants and pubs, all set to reap the rewards. We look forward to seeing how the 10 part series unfolds and joining Caroline on her journey around Cornwall. Visit Cornwall

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  • VCornwall  |  January 08 2013, 3:45PM


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  • davidrcraig  |  January 08 2013, 3:37PM

    i think Carolean Quimten does a better job :) http://tinyurl.com/7x5ml7k http://tinyurl.com/aruhzsh

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  • eardun  |  January 08 2013, 1:45PM

    Which is better for Cornwall? A positive TV programme, or a negative review that (incorrectly) describes PZ as a retail graveyard?

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