An Island Parish: Review

An Island Parish – BBC 2, 2030, Friday November 16th

I have never watched a full episode of An Island Parish before. I was vaguely aware of its existence in the Telesphere and I think I may have even caught a few minutes of it. However, it has never grabbed me by the goolies enough to watch it for long enough to form an opinion.

However, with the documentary first shown in 2007 is starting its seventh series and this time it’s on The Channel Island of Sark.

Sark is a groovy little island that has chosen to ignore much of the so called progress taken by the rest of the UK and cherry picks whichever advances it feel are necessary and ignores the rest in order to maintain a lifestyle that they are proud of and have no urge to change. The most obvious feature of this philosophy is that the island is car free and people get around either by bike or horse and cart. The only local public transport on offer is ‘the Toast Rack’, a trailer which is pulled around by the only tolerated form of motor vehicle; the tractor.

The small and close knit community revolves around the two churches present on the Island, one Anglican and one Methodist, which surprisingly for an insular community are both run by women, who in this show bring in the radical idea of a combined service and the practice of washing each other’s feet, that and an incident of a broken toe are all the drama you are going to get in this programme.

An Island Parish is TV with all the edges sanded down, nothing offensive or challenging and certainly this series shows an idyllic dream land of rural life. It must be one of the few programmes where those angry readers of the Daily Mail can settle down, safe in the knowledge that their world view shall not be compromised, their outrage won’t be provoked and the large vein on their temple will not start to throb.

There is something eminently watchable about an Island Parish though; it draws you in with its soporific pace and plinky-plonky incidental music where time slows down but passes quickly at the same time, like a cosy cardigan based acid trip which you snap out of when you suddenly realise what you are watching
I wonder though, is this place really so pleasant and charming? I doubt it; where ever there are people there is some sort of sleaziness, perversion or hidden agenda. I reckon the people of Sark are hiding something dreadful a dark past, a chilling secret or even a Wicca Man.

Alastair Newport

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