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My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding

Mediation and Represenation Presentation looking at My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding Documentary.

Emily Mullender

on 31 March 2011

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Transcript of My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding

My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding Documentary Analysis Documentary document reality and denote society
aspects which audience are not familiar with
'The denotation of society in factual programmes, especially documentary, is part of television’s public service function.' (Bignell 2004 (Pg155, An Introduction to Television Studies) And therefore documentaries must denote them in a truthful and fair way.
subgenre of docudramas- manipulated for entertainment purposes.
entertainment elements can stifle authenticity and reality of programmes.
not only observation of subject/s that make a documentary but also supporting narration, testimony or expert commentary for higher reliability and cohesion. Documentaries: Main Arguments Misrepresentation Discrimination News Articles Violence 'Grabbing' Funding Documentary shows fist fights between men as 'tradition'.
This is criticised as many travellers have complained that it is
untrue and not as common as shown. 'Grabbing' is a mating ritual the traveller males try to tempt the girls away from their friends and attempt to get a kiss. If the man is successful, then there is ‘something there’.
While grabbing is made to look very violent and malicious it is simply to assess whether the female in question has any feelings for the man and does not actually overstep the mark. There has been concern over how the travellers earn their money to afford the extravagant weddings as they have often been accused of stealing and fraud in order to afford such events. Generalisation Old fashioned, stereotypical music and focus on their life in caravans makes the community look old fashioned and ridiculous. Articles also point out that the documentary mainly shows Irish travellers when in fact these only make up 10% of the traveller community. Girls shown to look promiscuous and rebellious in short, revealing outfits when in fact it contrasts the communities strict moral codes. Promiscuity The traveling community within the documentary complains about the non-traveler public judging them and generalising stereotypes to all travelers. Gender Equality Public Discrimination Within the documentary the boundaries between men and women's roles within society are very tough. "it's a man's world" Basic Rights Women aren't allowed out unaccompanied in public, whereas men are.
Women aren't allowed to drink alcohol before marriage, this rule again doesn't apply to men. Documentary shows public attitudes and feelings towards the traveling community, these are mostly negative. Misrepresentation in TV can come from wide range of areas, TV can misrepresent in:
class system
broadcaster themselves Channel 4 and Misrepresentation 2007 - Channel 4 caught up in race row in Celebrity Big Brother.
It was edited by the producers endemol to exaggerate the situation and to make it worse and misrepresent the parties involved. 2008 - Channel 4 again accused of misrepresenting facts, views and scientific evidence in 'The Big Global Warming Swindle' "Thirty-seven British scientists signed a letter of complaint, saying that they "believe that the misrepresentations of facts and views, both of which occur in your programme, are so serious that repeat broadcasts of the programme, without amendment, are not in the public interest. In view of the seriousness of climate change as an issue, it is crucial that public debate about it is balanced and well-informed". Misrepresentation in My Big Fat Gypsy Weddings "It's posing as a documentary, the voiceover is saying we're going to let you into the secrets of the traveller community – and it just not true. It might be true of the particular families in front of the camera, but it's not generally true. They're made to look totally feckless, not really to be taken seriously as an ethnic group" (Travellers' Times, 2011) Audience not informed clearly about the different types of travellers. There are over 10 different sub-cultures of traveller within the community in the UK and ireland alone.Programme accused of 'playing up' for the camera.Programme called 'My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding' despite the focus being on only Romani and Irish travellers. Channel 4's Response Jes Wilkins, the executive producer said that the vast majority of the participants in the show are happy with their on-screen portrayal. Wilkins said:
"The problem has been with the media response, particularly from the tabloid press. It's become one of the big cultural phenomena of this part of the year and people are looking for something to write about it, something provocative. Some [of] these articles have upset our contributors which has been disappointing" (Travellers Times, 2011) He is defending his own programme
Passing blame onto media outlets Others from the Traveller and Gypsy communities question the show's title. Billy Welch, a spokesman for Roma Gypsies said:

“While Channel 4 should be praised for at least differentiating between Irish Travellers and Roma Gypsies, the first three episodes have in fact focused exclusively on Irish Travellers and their traditions: They called the show Big Fat Gypsy Wedding and you've yet to see a Romany Gypsy in it" (Travellers Times, 2011) Making entertainment out of misrepresenting culture
Selecting the more 'out there' or unusual sub-culture of travellers to provide comical or shocking entertainment. Questioning the shows title Conclusion Half of the argument and documented content is very weak whilst the other half is more reliable. Channel 4 are providing entertainment however they are misrepresentating the subject.
Not all subcultures are covered.Some say the documented travellers are playing up to the camera.
Focuses on extremes and most entertaining factors.
The argument is not conclusive as not all parties are involved in programme.
Traditional errors Weaknesses: Strengths: Public discrimination documented well
General moral traveller practises are mainly correct. Overall, the flaws in this documentary outweigh the strengths and generally, 'Big Fat Gypsy Weddings' is a very unreliable and untruthful documentary. Thankyou For Watching! Bibliography An Introduction to Television Studies - Jonathan Bignell 2004

Daily Mail @



The Guardian @

Daily Mail @
Full transcript