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Listen to Excess Baggage for

21 July 2007


There are fourteen British Overseas Territories, including the tiny, remote Pitcairn; the holiday resorts of The Virgin Islands or Bermuda; the military bases of Cyprus; and the wilderness of the Antarctic Territory. Each of them has a story to tell, both of British history and how they are surviving in the post Empire world.

Sandi Toksvig talks to representatives from three of these dependencies: the Falkland Islands, St Helena and Gibraltar.  Are they worthy of the journey, offering new experiences, or simply the vestiges of colonial days?  What has made us hold on to them in the face of opposition from their neighbours, to the point of going to war in one case?  Are they just like little bits of Britain scattered around the globe or do they have their own identity?  Are they easy to get to and what do they offer the tourist?

Sukey Cameron is a third generation Falkland Islander and the Islands’ government representative in the UK; born and bred in Gibraltar , Albert Poggio, is not only its government’s representative in the UK but also its director of tourism; Michael Clancy, Welsh by birth, is now Governor of the Island of St Helena, as well as neighbouring Ascension Island and Tristan da Cunha.

Presented by Sandi Toksvig

Gibraltar. (c) jonrawlinson /

Photo: Gibraltar

This week’s guests:

Sukey Cameron
 is a Falkand Islander and the Islands’ representative in the UK.

There are more than seven hundred islands in the Falklands, although many are small and uninhabited. They are located between 300 to 400 miles from the southern coast of Argentina and about 850 miles north of the Antarctic Circle. They are approximately half the size of Wales and 148 miles across from east to west. The population is about 2,500, of which nearly 2,000 live in the capital Stanley, plus those involved in the military presence there, either soldiers or civilian support staff.

Visitors come for the military history, the hilly countryside, sporting activities and the wildlife, which includes five varieties of penguins as well as hawks, albatrosses (called molly mawks locally), dolphins, whales and elephant seals.

Falkland Islands Government

Falkland Islands Tourism

Michael Clancy has been the Governor of the Island of St Helena since 2004 and his three year term ends in October. He spends most of his time on St Helena, but also visits his other two charges - Ascension Island and Tristan Da Cunha.

St Helena is a volcanic island lying roughly in the middle of the Atlantic, about 1700 miles north west of Cape Town. Discovered in 1502 by the Portuguese, it passed into British hands in 1834 through the East India Company. It is hot at sea level, being not far south of the equator, but is cooler inland at height. It has hilly terrain with rocky shores and subtropical forest and grassland in the interior. It is forty seven square miles in size (10 ½ miles by 6 ½) and has a population of about 4,000. About 1,000 work for the government in some capacity, and others work in tuna fishing and agriculture.

Government of St Helena

St Helena Tourist Office

Albert Poggio is Gilbraltarian and the UK representative of the Gibraltar government as well as being its director of tourism.

Gibraltar is a small British Overseas Territory, about six square kilometres in size, situated at the southern tip of the Iberian peninsula and sharing a border with Spain. Its economy is based on three pillars: financial services, port related activities and tourism. It has 30,000 residents as well as a floating population of workers, both Spanish and British, who live across the border in Spain and who cater for the 8½ million visitors a year.

Visitors to Gibraltar can expect to see the famous ‘apes’ or Barbary monkeys, the only wild ones in Europe and the subject of many a legend on the island, and panoramic views from the top of the 430m high Rock, accessible by cable car.

Government of Gibraltar

Gibraltar tourism
UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Overseas Territories

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Sandi ToksvigSandi Toksvig:
The daughter of a foreign correspondent, Sandi has been travelling all her life more info
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