Channel 5 show ignores Gibraltar’s national identity

Posted by er134 at Jul 19, 2013 10:19 AM |
University of Leicester academic claims Channel 5’s new series Gibraltar: Britain in the Sun is rehashing an out-of-date stereotype

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 19 July 2013

A new TV series presents a false, outmoded image of Gibraltar and ignores Gibraltarians, according to an expert on the peninsula.

Dr Chris Grocott, an expert on Economic History at the University of Leicester’s School of Management, says Channel 5’s Gibraltar: Britain In The Sun paints an inaccurate picture of a place overrun by British expatriates.

The documentary series follows the lives of residents and tourists in the British Overseas Territory - located on the southern tip of Spain – but pays little attention to Gibraltarians, who consider Gibraltar to be a nation in itself.

Dr Grocott believes the programme casts aside decades of work by the people and Government of Gibraltar to demonstrate their unique identity.

He said: “It is fair to say that Channel 5’s programme is playing to an out-of-date stereotype. The ‘Britain in the Sun’ label may just have fitted Gibraltar 50 years ago, but the attitudes of the people of Gibraltar have changed and are moving away from that image.

“If you look at comments on Facebook and the Channel 5 website, there has been a real sense of outrage in Gibraltar about how the Rock is presented in the programme.

“There has been so much work done over the years to say something about the community of Gibraltar. The programme ignores all of that, and presents it as being overrun with British expatriates. The programme could have featured the stories of Gibraltarians themselves rather than sidelining them to ‘bit parts’.”

Dr Grocott believes the programme raises serious questions about how the Government of Gibraltar should manage its tourist brand.

He said: “As Gibraltarians themselves seek to advance their own identity, it remains to be seen how long the notion of ‘Britain in the Sun’ can be a successful strategy for the Gibraltar Tourist Board.

“Research by my colleague Dr Mihalis Kavaratzis has shown that city marketing strategies work successfully when their inhabitants are invested in the identity that is being projected by tourism boards. When the brand and the people drift apart, the marketing strategy itself is likely to fail.

“As Gibraltarians assert their own identity, the presentation of Gibraltar as being ‘Britain in the Sun’ is likely to become increasingly problematic.”

Ends

Notes to Editors

Dr Chris Grocott has extensively researched the history, politics, and economy of Gibraltar for more than 15 years.

He decided to research the social history of the region for his undergraduate History dissertation, and continued to research Gibraltar for his masters’ and PhD.

More recently, his book Gibraltar: A Modern History, co-authored with Dr Gareth Stockey of the University of Nottingham, was published by the University of Wales Press in 2012.

For more information, please contact Dr Chris Grocott at: c.grocott@le.ac.uk

More information about Dr Chris Grocott can be found at:

http://www2.le.ac.uk/departments/management/people/cgrocott

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