I have been enjoying the recent chanel five series where Paddy Doherty and Sally Bercow have set out to meet gypsy communities around the world. So far they have visited Andulusia, Hungary and Ireland and next week we will discover how they fared in Borneo. The programes are a vast improvement on previous so called gypsy documentaries. I suspect anyone looking forward to having a laugh at the usual, "Jeremy Kyle fodder," will have been disappointed and switched over but I think it is a nice change to have a respectful, informative yet light hearted TV show all about international gypsy culture.
There has been a bit of debate in the media as to whether the show is any good and whether Paddy and Sally are genuine. Well I am not any kind of TV critic but I will say that those two managed to make me quite envious - I wish they had taken me on their travels. The lucky pair have been to some beautiful places, met some great people and appear to have had a lot of fun.
Paddy and Sally are often described as an odd pair of friends since they come from very different backgrounds and often have differing views on many issues. Sally might be considered a bit of a feminist and Paddy is certainly old fashioned, yet although they may see things differently they seem to arrive at the same place in the end - Sally wants to see women having their full compliment of rights and respect and Paddy clearly has respect for women and sees it as his responsibility to protect the women in his family. I like that Sally and Paddy have some strong opinions and that they are consistent in their views yet show respect for those who do things differently; their friendship and outlook on life prove that we don't always have to agree in order to get along.
The Irish adventure was good and I don't think it matters that their tent wasn't up to much or that the survival skills were not quite up to Ray Mear's standard. I really loved the fact that they met and interviewed Irish travellers who are actually representative of their community. Nice, normal, modest folk who have interests other than fake tan and crystals. It has to be said that Irish travellers are a minority that are frequently villified and ridiculed by the press and media and often mistrusted by other communities. A certain TV program has in my opinion helped to stereotype the Irish travellers, however I think Paddy and Sally's Excellent Gypsy Adventure has portrayed them and other travelling folk more honestly. While it is proving to be a charming, interesting and fun program I am hoping it will also do a lot of good in terms of helping traveller and gorja relations.