John Humphry’s presented a special Panorama programme looking at the effects of decline of the fishing industry in Lowestoft. But did the programme reflect reality
Any programme the BBC puts out is likely to undergo scrutiny- when it comes to looking at local areas there is always the danger that it can either come across as patronising or worse make a place seem worse than it actually is. In other cases it may veer too much toward sentimentality and nostalgia.
The main purpose of the programme was to look at areas such as Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft to investigate the effect the decline of the fishing industry had on the local area. There can be no denying that this has happened and inevitably this has meant a knock on effect in terms of other services.
Inevitably there were some loaded terms used such as “the wooden frames where the fishing nets used to hang”. From phrases like that it sounds like the kind of kitchen sink gritty drama that would be made in the Sixties. This is not helped by emphasising the problems the area has had in trying to get an extra bridge in the area (in the busiest times it can take an hour to get from one end of the town to the other). Some people have also pointed out that the program didn’t sufficiently emphasise problems with the closure of local factories and their effect on the local economy.
However there was also a sense of balance- equally the programme emphasised the potential for the area and hope for the future. In addition it is worth noting this is an area where there has been a lot of investment in alternative energy sources, the local college is set for a massive overhaul and in recent times the town centre and the promenade have benefited from an overhaul that makes the area more attractive for visitors.
In short while it is commendable that Panorama has raised some important issues it is vital that people remember things are changing for the better as well and hopefully with more emphasis on the local area it can lead to more support and a push towards improving the long term prospects for people in and around Lowestoft.