Manchester City Council

ITV and Northern Moor

They say the camera never lies. But when it comes to so-called reality television, the lens can certainly distort. There's genuine outrage in Northern Moor, Wythenshawe about a fly-on-the-wall documentary featuring the Duchess of York visiting the area which is due to be broadcast next week. We haven't seen the programme yet, the production company haven't given us that courtesy, but if the pre-publicity issued by ITV is anything to go by residents are right to fear the worst.

Their press material features claims that the area is ridden with crime and lacking community spirit. It was even claimed that a building she was using there had been blasted with a shotgun, prompting hysterical headlines in several national tabloids.

In truth two small holes had been made in windows by a pellet gun. Of course any such incident should be taken seriously. And of course Northern Moor, like many other places around the country, has its challenges.

But this sort of exaggeration helps no one - and certainly not the many people, residents very much included, who are working to address them.

It only serves to demoralise and undermine the enormous good work and investment which is going into improving the area. For example Parkway Green - the main community landlord there - is investing more than £30 million in enhancing properties and the environment and there is a brand new Sure Start Children's Centre. Progress is being made.

After all the headlines this week, the Council had lots of calls from residents who were hurt by the misleading depiction of their area and wanted to do something about it. The irony is that they are all demonstrating exactly what the TV publicity had claimed didn't exist in Northern Moor - community spirit. Indeed when I met the producers it was clear that the very reason they picked Northern Moor was because they knew it already had the community spirit needed to make their project a success. Let's hope the programme is more accurate than the publicity that has preceded it.

There are 26 responses to “ITV and Northern Moor ”

  1. bicolouredpythonrocksnake Says:

    I don't even know what a pellet gun is, never mind how I might get hold of one. I really can't say I'm reassured.

  2. Rhymenoceros Says:

    What did you expect them to show? The Duchess visiting Northern Moor and proclaiming: 'It's alright actually, good community sprirt and all, not much for me to do here, jolly good?. That'll get the figures that ITV craves. Also, I don't know when and where it was decided that this woman's opinion is even remotely relevant. Her crowning moment was being born into opportunity and opulence. With the opportunities laid at her feet she managed to write Budgie The Helicopter, how this qualifies her as a social commentator I do not know.

  3. Colin Apleby Says:

    Nothing changes.When I was in Cyprus in the Army,when the "troubles" were on,the UK news papers made headlines out of every "bad" incident,never did GOOD NEWS hit the headlines.Wouldn't sell as many papers would it? It's the same now with TV.Screen the sensational, get bthe ratings ,don't tell any lies ,but embelish the truth and exagerate it if you can.

  4. Mary James Says:

    if all that is needed to resolve all the problems in Britain is to visit an area for 10 days and talk about renting a place for a community centre, then all the problems would have been resolved long ago. Whether she is arrogant or just plain stupid, this woman should keep away from situations she knows nothing about and to which she has nothing to give. The money put into making this sort of programme would be far better used to support communities. some of those who have innocently been drawn into her dreadful desire to be on TV will be left feeling bitter and used. Let's hope that the community will show just what community spirit they have by banding together and telling her to keep out of their lives

  5. Jim Mogg Says:

    I watched the programme last night and saw a fairly accurate portrayal of what I have seen when in the area before. You mention that there is some hurt feelings in that area - good, anger should be felt. The level of aspiration there is gloomy to say the least. Yes there may have been some level of exageration, but that is there to build a narrative for the programme. I think the Duchess of York should be commended for raising the profile of the problems there. I think her message was generally very positive. You mention £30m facelifting work - well that's fine and very noble. But aren't the problems deeper than that. Surely people must want to keep the place warm and welcoming in the first place. The work of the lady in Blackpool was particularly inspiring, yet the problem in Manchester needs investment in people to go there and inspire people to help build the community themselves. I am very disappointed in the outrage shown which appears to hide behind small pockets of positive work (that should be celebrated) but cannot mask the larger problems you appear to be unable to, fully, accept.

  6. Dan Says:

    Well, that was surprising. Manchester was portrayed as a city full of layabouts, with a high crime rate and a complete lack of social cohesion. The Duchess was portrayed as a woman whose privileged upbringing has left her more than a little detached from reality. Anybody living in an area such as this (I myself live in Gorton), knows that this is not far from the truth. The majority of residents are poorly eductaed, rude and inconsiderate to say the least. The crime rate in Mancheter IS a major problem and does need addressing. As touched upon briefly in the programme last night, it does not help that degenerates are allowed to commit crime after crime with punishments that do not fit. There are glimpses of community spirit for which Manchester was once famed but these glimpses are few and are far outwieghed by the anti-social and criminal behaviour of others. I love Manchester, but burying our heads in the sand and screaming outrage at anybody daring to show the truth as many of us see it will not help to address the many problems that Manchester faces.

  7. Steve Marshall Says:

    Having now seen the first program, what are the views of the council?

    In my view, It seemed a fair reflection of the problems around the area and showed both sides of the coin

  8. Dave Says:

    What a suprise that the media look for
    the worst in places not.

  9. terry goodwin Says:

    tv companys would be better investing in real people and not spending money on hasbeen royals

  10. Alan Salter Says:

    Whatever the terrors of Wythenshawe (and I must say, I have never found it so terrifying - even at night) the really annoying thing is the assumption that someone from such a priviledged and sheltered background can, in any way, "sort it out".

  11. Julie Veale Says:

    I think that this country needs more Dawns! well done to her and all those involved

  12. prince philip Says:

    give me and liz 40 grand you can pop by the palace anytime for a brew

  13. PeteC Says:

    So she was born into a privileged background and grew up detached from the working classes? having watched the documentary it seems that she got off her backside and actually put time and effort into doing something. Her name, her contacts and her time were ploughed into that project. She didn't have to do that, she didn't need the publicity, she can get that other ways. You don't honestly believe that the money that was raised would have been as much if Fergie wasn't its patron do you? We are so quick to cock a snoot at the upper classes yet when one comes down to Earth, shows a genuine concern and tries to make something happen then she gets attacked for it. I was brought up on langley and my Aunty lived in Wythenshawe. I had a damn tough upbringing and several times the youth club was burnt down, Library ransacked and the shops were a no go area. It did Northern Moor no harm at all to be the centre of media attention ( As they say there's no such thing as bad publicity) I hope the centre is a success and if he changes the lives of 20 people who would otherwise turn to crime, if it gives old people a place to go and have a cup of tea, if it gives people somewhere to go to meet and to just chill out and maybe talk about things that are worrying them or how they would like things to change then its all good. Northern Moor just might be the catalyst for many more projects around the country so for them that patronise the Duchess then go rattle your tongue elsewhere - Its all about making a difference - Fergie helped make a difference

  14. Jim Mogg Says:

    Wouldn't have said that the response the council gave in the second part of the documentary last night was very convincing. But fair play to the community centre they pulled it off didn't they? Still not convinced it has in itself improved the reputation of Northern Moor. The young champion who was helping out made the reality abundantly clear: like the Godfather, he tried to get away but they kept pulling him back in. Until you resolve the root causes the problems in Northern Moor which are being echoed elsewhere in the country won't be rectified.

  15. Natalie Says:

    The answer is obvious isn't it? Bring back Gene Hunt to police the streets of Manchester again! (Anyone who doesn't know who Gene Hunt is will need to watch Life on Mars). Sorry couldn't resist, but on a more serious note the saying goes that there is no thing as bad publicity. If nothing else has been achieved in this program then the area received some much needed profile with the council and a lot of businesses got behind the cause. The rest as many of you say is now up to the resident's. Don't be bitter be better eh?

  16. Dan Says:

    Re: Pete C, I will not 'rattle my tongue' elsewhere. This is the blog for the leader of Manchester City Council and the repsonse section is for people to respond with their opinions on the subject If you would like to start up Pete C's blog then I can assure you that I would neither read nor respond. Also, 'if' is a very big word and you have used it a lot of times. 'If' it changes lives, 'if' it gives old people a place to go etc. Don't get too far ahead of yourself just yet, nothing has changed as of now. Yes, this 'might' prove to be the blueprint that other areas work to but it is far more likely that it will not. If you don't agree, why don't we wait a year or two and see if Manchester still has some of the most deprived and crime ridden areas in England. Then again, perhaps the Duchess and her contacts will have fixed all of this by then. Also, with regards to the Duchess helping to raise the money, I would love to know how much this country spent on her and her family, I would imagine it is a little more than £40k. The Duchess doesn;t need the publicity, source?. The Duchess put a lot of time and effort into this, source and figures please (Dawn and her people seemed to put a lot of time and effort in). The Duchess has a genuine concern for the people of Northen Moor? I would ask for your source but this is frankly ludicrous.

  17. Dave Says:

    To PeteC
    I'll rattle my tongue on this site cause thats what it for a free open site. I say bring back Cromwell and let me go to windsor to sort out a disfunctional family there.

  18. lazyitis Says:

    It’s the telly though isn’t it? Always exploitative, always having to look for ratings.
    I suppose anything that gets people debating the problems of Manchester can’t be all bad, but does every show nowadays have to have this patronising element of ‘the rich helping out the poor’? It’s hardly headline news that our society is so unequal (and has grown more so during the Labour leadership) and however much she moans about her treatment, what did she expect? She and her family still benefit from that inequality (unequality?), so unless she was campaigning for a massive redistribution of the wealth of the nation, then she was always going to get stick. Widening the debate, it’s frightening sometimes how detached the ‘great and good’ are from normal society. Witness the clueless comments of the Tory Shadow Home Secretary regarding ‘The Wire’ and Moss Side.

  19. TBar Says:

    Stop being haters towards highlighters, after all, some of the areas in Northern Moor are poor and some of the people are poor, but dont be a hater, this programme really highlighted the problems being unanswered in our Manchester, send out a team of Life coaches to Northern Moor and the rest of you negative Mancunians. Take on board the advice shown and bear in mind it is TV

  20. Tbar for Prime Minister Says:

    Re: TBar,
    Stop being haters of highlighters?
    What does that even mean?
    Send out life coaches?
    Take the advice shown?
    What next, send out a bunch of clowns and zoo animals to cheer up the locals?
    How about big signs on the road sides that say 'cheer up folks, it could be worse'.
    If you think the road signs would work, perhaps you could write the slogans given your optimistic (many would say otherwise) views. Can't post any longer, I'm off to Harpurhey to solve the poverty there by performing in a morris dancing quartet.

  21. David Jatt Says:

    lazyitis - The shadow home secretary only said that for shock factor, its pathetic really (not as transparent as Cameron 'accidently' swearing on the radio). He probably hasn't seen the wire or ever been anywhere near mosside. Does he really think people trust his opinion on the diverse range of issues faced by Britain's poorest areas when he makes such generalised sweeping statements.

  22. lazyitis Says:

    David Jatt - I think we agree. Mind you, now I know Chris Grayling's name, so maybe that was the point.
    It'd be a pity if he hadn't watched The Wire, as it raises many pertinent questions regarding the abuse of power that I'm sure resonate over here.

  23. dave Says:

    send out a team of Life coaches to Northern Moor
    TBar you are joking arn't you, what part of manchester do you live in do tell. We need more Police less liberial attituades to crime I live in Hulme I know about crime and the lack of police caring . We need to stop listioning to liberial ideas from people who don't live in the areas they are talking about.

  24. keith Richards Says:

    I remember the youth club on Martindale crescent Langley, Peter C. AND YES IT WAS BURNT DOWN TWICE.
    I completely agree on your comments

  25. Tbar Says:

    Im afraid you cant solve poverty with Morris Dancing but it would certainly put a smile on most peoples faces, maybe including your own.(Tbar for Prime Minister) You need a course of Anti pathy pills, haha
    Go for a jog and get some of that frustration out lad, whats the matter wid ya.
    Firstly I live in what could be considered... a bad area by some and yes there is crime around, but the people or most of them are not spreading hate or negative angry views, need more police, tut, It was only TV, but it highlighted some issues within the community. As for Dave I live not a stones throw from hulme and have done all my life, idiot :$
    Should get out in the community more and switch off ya play station

  26. TBar for PM Says:

    Go for a jog, get off 'ya' playstaiton. What's the matter 'wid' ya. If I didn't know better I would believe you to be a clown (an actual clown, not just a fool. Come to think of it, I don't know that you aren't a clown. Come on, 'fess up Coco (thought you'd appreciate the syntax).



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