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16 October 2014

Arnish Lighthouse

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I was told (as I don't watch Channel 4) that a program called Wife Swap featured someone from Lewis swapping places with her counterpart from Lancashire. The program was repeated on one of C4's subsidiary channels. Four-letter-word television is the best description. The lady from the island stating she had made a hermit's existence up here with her family didn't help proceedings, neither did the erroneous statements about the proximity of shops. Within Lewis, you're never further than 25 miles from Stornoway. And never further than a few miles from a shop, even if it's only one with the bare necessities. I don't want to waste space on this blog on her counterpart from further south. Suffice to say I was so appalled I turned off the TV after 20 minutes.

I would expect this level of depravity from Channel 4, but I feel sure that the Castaway program (from 2000) is still unfondly remembered in the islands. The only positive spin-off from that series was publicity for the fantastic scenery in this part of the world. Castaway was a misconception from the start. Does anyone expect people to show any real commitment to a project to build a community, knowing it's going to end in 12 months' time? The on-screen rows pulled the whole scene down, and in a way badly reflected on the Hebrides as a whole.

I just do not understand why the islands at the fringes of the United Kingdom always have to be shown off as backwards and stuck in the dark ages. We are not. You have to work with the circumstances you are confronted with. You're on an island. You are in a remote location.

Let's have some television that shows the islands in a positive light. And that is eminently possible. For instance, tonight I spoke to someone who remarked on the number of smart new houses being built in the island. At the positive developments flowing from community ownership. When, BBC, are we going to see a program on that aspect of life in the island?
Posted on Arnish Lighthouse at 23:37


you won't - it doesn't make good telly - and look at the flak and fallout from this show, surely that's part of the aim of this kind of TV drivel. who in their right minds would take part anyway?(sorry if anybody finds that offensive, but its true.) Castaway was amazing viewing and we discussed it for hours - but not in a way the people who took part would probably have liked! we marvelled at their ignorance, their attitudes, their arrogance and their lack of common sense. Who would subject their families to that?

scallowawife from shetland

I totally agree with you. The Islands are always portrayed as still being in the dark ages, but WE dont have to keep all of our belongings under armed guard for fear of theft, our children can play safely, our communities really do care, our shops maybe small but at least the assistants smile and speak. We can get up in the morning listen to the traffic news on Radio 2 and smile! Breathe clean air and can still be amazed by the beauty of our surroundings. Makes me wonder who is living in the dark ages...............not us!

Sandaysiren from Unst

I seldom watch TV [from choice], but I did tune into that Castaway series and was bitterly disappointed. The opportunities were there for an indepth presentation of starting from scratch in an enviroment that does exist in realilty. But .. what did they do? Focussed on trivia which I strongly suspect was engineered to provide 'good TV'. Bah! Humbug! I never watched until the final. What could have been a fascinating programme was completely ruined by some predetermined agenda. Can I say here, though it applies equally to all blogs, this site provide a better insight into life in the islands ... keep up the good work everyone ... I read you all!

Plaid from New Zealand

I can recommend Balamory on CBeebies for positive images.

Annie B from the usual

You folk on the islands aren't backward and stuck in the middle ages; you're connected to your history and you live on the land. If there were some sort of major disaster in Scotland, do you know who urbanites would look to for coping and problem-solving with minimal resources? You islanders. Incredible skills and fortitude and hospitality. You are sophisticated in ways some mainlanders/urbanites/professionals should be aspiring to. So do what you have to do to sanely and productively manage the difficulties of island life. But at the end of the day--smile, give the world a wink, and enjoy the stars-- because you can see them.

Karen of Lewis from Ontario, Canada

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