Everybody who knows me better knows I am a massive fan of the English working-class culture. I love everything about it, humour, food and most of all the beautiful ‘get on with it’ spirit, which helps English working-class cope with everyday troubles. To an extent, the working class (of Manchester though) has been presented in the British version of Shameless and cult series such as The Royles but this series adds to this working-class representation in the British television.
Therefore, I started to watch Scarborough, a new BBC series that premiered in September. The series follows lives of locals in Scarborough who hang out in local pub the Ship and some of whom work in Geraldine’s of Scarborough hairdresser parlour. Apart from fixing the hair of old ladies of Scarborough, employees have to deal with legal issues. What on earth do you do when your boss pinches thousands of pounds from a customer who died on your toilet (of all places)? And, how do you deal with your partner cheating with a woman who is a girlfriend of a local mob boss and a local man-eater (Claire Sweeney)? How does working in the games arcade look like? And, is your elderly neighbour gay or does he want to marry your elderly mom?
These are just some of the intrigues that happen in Scarborough but plenty to keep the viewer occupied.
The show plays with stereotypes as well because the local mob boss is of Italian origin and the way of living amongst working-class people is also very stereotypical (e.g. always hanging out in the pub, singing karaoke and generally getting plastered on a regular basis). Karaoke in the Ship also reminds a bit of Benidorm series albeit Mike (Jason Manford) is certainly a better singer. The reference to Benidorm does not come as a surprise because the writer is Derren Litten, the creator of popular Benidorm and the series has been positively received by Scarborough residents.
On a negative side, some writers noticed bad humour in one episode (I have to admit I did not register this). iNews, therefore, said, “where the show did cross that wobbly line between being funny and being offensive came when ex-con Bigsy (Steve Edge) said Jimmy Savile “had the right idea about women” because he “used to call them brain-damaged”. Savile, lest you need reminding, is thought to have sexually abused, assaulted and raped around 589 children and women. I am of the opinion that jokes can be made about pretty much anything, as long as they’re funny and the context is relevant – this scene in a supposedly cosy Friday night BBC drama was neither” (full review)
This may not be everyone’s cup of tea but I am enjoying references to the working-class culture and spending days in pubs whilst dealing with issues that can only emerge in a small town. Either way, worth watching if for nothing else but for food for thought and a good discussion.
Thank you for reading.