Council leader sounds off about Barry TV programme

DISAPPOINTED: Cllr Neil Moore

DISAPPOINTED: Cllr Neil Moore

First published in News

TELEVISION watchdog Ofcom has received a complaint following the broadcast of a programme depicting Barry as a karaoke capital.

Vale Council leader Cllr Neil Moore wrote to Ofcom and Channel 4, which broadcast the programme on December 19, stating he had received complaints from constituents and, although he had not watched the show, he was advised it showed Barry in a “poor light”.

Channel 4 said it had received 11 complaints.

In his letter to Channel 4, Cllr Neil Moore said: “I am very disappointed that the programme showed Barry in such a poor light, without showing the town in a more positive and realistic manner which could have included many positive features.”

He added: “Local people are most disgruntled with Channel 4 for such an unbalanced and prejudiced piece of programming.

“Local people are rightly upset and annoyed that they should be misrepresented by the small inaccurate sample of people portrayed in your programme.”

A Barry resident, who viewed the programme and wanted to remain anonymous, said it was a “sad portrayal of Barry” and they could only bear to watch 22 minutes.

They said: “I sent several complaints to Channel 4 before deciding to watch the whole programme in order to prepare more accurate notes. Before I could access the recording it had been removed so I can only go on my first impressions.

“Some scenes were fuelled by alcohol and perhaps the presence of a television crew. Like many other communities, some people enjoy karaoke and why not, others have different social activities and pastimes. Many enjoy our performing arts groups; history groups; have an interest in local events; local choirs or perhaps exhibitions produced by local people. However, the programme makers appear to have chosen a few individuals to film, and portrayed them as the norm. They are not!

“Despite a statement in the film, we do not have ‘no go’ situations in Barry.

“The recording did not seem to be about karaoke, it was more about sensationalising behaviour, nudity and stigmatising our town.

“Barry is blessed with a rich history, a wonderful coastline and many talented people, but this film badly misrepresented our town.

“What on earth is television coming too?”

A Channel 4 spokesman said: “The programme offered a fair portrayal of the thriving late night karaoke scene in Barry and was aired in a suitable post-watershed slot.”

He said they obtained permission to film from the council and paid fees to the council based on specific and agreed filming days.

He also confirmed they received a letter from Cllr Neil Moore on January 13 and would reply in due course.

He added: “We had a small number of complaints to Channel 4 totalling 11.”

An Ofcom spokesman said: “We can confirm that we’ve received a complaint about the programme, Karaoke Nights – Barry the Karaoke Capital of Wales, broadcast on Channel 4. We will assess the complaint before making a decision on whether or not to formally investigate.”

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