Surrey Heights: What effect would the reality programme have on Croydon?
A BOOST for our borough's image or a chav-tastic embarrassment? A debate over the relative merits of reality television programme Surrey Heights, which has banned 'chavs' from taking part, has raged online this week. Here, two Croydon residents give their views.
Against: John Lauder
I am genuinely concerned about Surrey Heights and how it will portray Croydon and its people. Months ago, Croydon was up in flames and its reputation took a kicking. A TV programme of this nature may not help the borough's recovery. Croydon residents know nothing about Surrey Heights or its aims. We need public reassurance from the producers that Surrey Heights will be sensitive to recent events and portray the area fairly. I spoke to both Gavin Barwell MP and a prominent Labour councillor and asked if they or anyone they knew had been approached by the Surrey Heights production crew. The answer from both was no, suggesting there's been no attempt at community engagement whatsoever. If this becomes a major TV production, it could have a huge impact on Croydon's reputation. If done well, it could be very positive. If done badly, it could seriously backfire.
For: Adam Michael
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I've been involved in numerous Twitter debates regarding Surrey Heights. While the makers have promised that the show will not be a carbon copy of other reality programmes, there is a lot of negativity surrounding the series. My view is simple – I believe it will be a positive thing for Croydon, because history has shown that shows such as Jersey Shore and Geordie Shore have increased tourism in their respective towns and bought in much-needed money. What's to say the show, and the people in it, will be negative? The producers have categorically stated it will not be a TOWIE clone. If the show does well and visitors come to Croydon, they end up spending their money in our shops, they recommend restaurants and shops to their friends. Businesses notice this and invest in Croydon. How is this a bad thing?
A poll on our website this week revealed 28 per cent of you think Surrey Heights will have a positive impact on Croydon's reputation, 51 per cent think a negative impact, and 21 per cent said no impact.