Thursday, February 28, 2013





A documentary on travellers in Cambridgeshire was too ‘cutting edge’ for county council chiefs and a headteacher.

The makers of Channel 4’s My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding approached the headteacher of Cottenham Primary School and Cambridgeshire County Council, asking if they could film Breda Doran, who works for the council in traveller relations.

A series of emails – revealed using freedom of information laws – shows how the council dealt with the filming request from the Cutting Edge series team.

At first, the reaction was positive from Kim Tolley, the council’s traveller education community inclusion manager, who wrote: “I’ve been approached by a producer who wants to film with Breda as part of a six-part Channel 4 documentary series.

“This is obviously a great opportunity, not only for Breda, but also for CREDS (Cambridgeshire Race Equality and Diversity Service) to highlight the important work we do around raising the achievement of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller children and young people.”

But Jan Wright, who has since retired as headteacher at the school, feared the documentary would damage relations after seeing My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding and refused to allow film crews into the school.

She wrote: “I saw that programme and was not happy about the image it portrayed. I think the world of Breda and the wonderful work she does here and will not risk anything tarnishing all the years of work we have put in to improving relationships across our community. I’m afraid the answer is a definitive no.”

After the refusal, Ms Tolley said the council could not go ahead with helping the documentary fearing it would upset relations with the traveller community.

A spokesman for the council’s press office then replied: “That’s fine. I’m relieved the head feels the same way. And I think the offer of an interview with Breda – albeit wearing a different hat – will appease them. Not that it’s our job to appease them.”

The spokesman told the News: “Breda was approached by the TV production company in her capacity as a member of the traveller community (not as a council employee) to take part, but she chose not to. It was her decision.

“We did not want any documentary over which we had no editorial control to jeopardise the excellent work being done with travellers by the school and the Cambridgeshire Race Equality and Diversity Service (CREDS).”

The council was approached about the film in 2010 but the correspondence emerged this month.
Yeah. If only more would say no to racist shows like this and 'American Gypsy'.


Pwiley said...

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Would you consider adding our company website to your list of external links?

It is

Morgan said...

Thanks so much for this. SEARCHING FOR THE FOURTH NAIL is a wonderful movie and we already list it on our facebook page.
I will happily add it to my list of external links.