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The toxic masculinity of Trumpton

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THE UK’s much-vaunted Prevent scheme, designed to ‘flag up’ potential terrorism and associated influences, has come in for a barrage of criticism for highlighting TV shows such as Yes Minister and The Thick of It as being possible red flags of extremism. Iconic war films including The Bridge on the River Kwai and The Dam Busters were also singled out as potentially problematic.

Whilst most people rightly scoff at such absurdities it should be the TV shows which Prevent also reviewed and found wanting that should alarm the public. TCWDF had a look at the pre-print report.

Trumpton

‘Here is the clock, the Trumpton clock. Telling the time, steadily, sensibly; never too quickly, never too slowly. Telling the time for Trumpton.’

The opening lines, spoken by a man, are an attempt to paint a picture of the archetypal English fantasy town of gentility, social cohesion, moral certainties, innate modesty, care and community. However, closer analysis reveals an altogether more uncomfortable proposition.

The subliminal insertion of the name Trump is a glaring and non-too-subtle far-right plot to rehabilitate and make acceptable the ex-President of the USA and his extremist views.

Furthermore, the characters have been deliberately assembled to reinforce and normalise a blatantly patriarchal right-wing hierarchy. From the fire brigade’s Captain Flack and Mr Troop the Town Clerk to Chippy Minton the carpenter – the town is simply a hotbed of unreconstructed, treacherous, testosterone-fuelled toxic masculinity.

Women, when featured, are typically and disgracefully relegated into stereotypical jobs – most notably Mrs Cobbit the florist or Miss Lovelace the milliner. Nowhere is the abject refusal to acknowledge either gender neutral or trans individuals more glaring than the fire brigade. There cannot be many people who do not feel a sense of burning injustice at the sickening roll-call: ‘Pugh, Pugh, Barney McGrew, Cuthbert, Dibble, Grubb.’

The fact that these supposed firefighters all wear the same blue militaristic uniform is not a mere coincidence. It is a deliberate and provocative subconscious message to inculcate impressionable minds to engage in acts of covert extremism.

Finally, Mr Toni Antonio the ice-cream seller, with his theme song ‘Tingaling-aling-aling, here’s the ice-cream van’ is a thinly veiled pastiche of an Italian dictator.

Verdict: Extremist messaging masquerading as children’s entertainment.

Jackanory

Advertised as an uncontentious and non-demanding way for children to engage with books, this series ran between 1965 and 1996. Older readers will be familiar with narrators such as Bernard Cribbins, Jeremy Irons, Spike Milligan, Ted Ray and Kenneth Williams who each brought their own unique talent for storytelling to a youthful audience. Latterly, though, the type of books being read leads us to believe that this show is simply a propaganda outlet for right-wing extremism.

Whilst books such as The House at Pooh Corner could not be called controversial in any way it is our view that The Art of War by Sun Tzu, The Doctrine of Fascism by Mussolini and The Death of the West: How Dying Populations and Immigrant Invasions Imperil our Country and Civilization by Patrick J Buchanan have no place on an afternoon network TV programme aimed at impressionable youngsters, even if read by Sir Lenny Henry.

Verdict: Indoctrination at a young age.

The Good Life

Superficially a harmless and entertaining sitcom about two couples in Seventies suburbia. Yet hidden right-wing messages are never far from the surface in this supposedly sylvan setting.

Tom Good and his wife Barbara are very much role models for embryonic right-wing extremists. Encouraging self-sufficiency and survival outside of the norms of society are well acknowledged tropes for those on the fringes of civilisation hell bent on overthrowing democratically elected governments. It is also noteworthy that the production of alcohol via their so-called ‘peapod burgundy’ and its varying levels of potency is only a whisker away from a production line of ‘Molotov cocktails’.

Their friends and neighbours the Leadbetters do little to quash this nascent fanatical cell located over the garden fence, and in some episodes are seen actively to collude in some of their more radical endeavours.

Verdict: Dangerous and subversive.

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Alexander McKibbin
Alexander McKibbin
Alexander McKibbin is a retired media executive who worked across domestic and international media.

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