Above: as long as the Big Fat Gypsy Weddings franchise keeps on rolling, it seems the cameera's never far away when the Travellers are at play. Image: FreeFoto
YOUNG Travellers celebrating Christmas and New Year at a private party in a London night club were surprised to see some unexpected special guests. However – it was not Santa and his elves coming to dish out presents – it was a Big Fat Gypsy Wedding camera crew recruiting for a forthcoming special!
A Traveller’s Times undercover reporter was there to report back on how it went:
Hi. I am a young Irish Traveller woman. I am not going to tell you my name because whenever I have had a go at BFGW before, I have had some pretty nasty abuse online and I can’t be bothered with it.
Just before Christmas myself and my brother decided to go to a special party for Travellers in a glitzy nightclub. We had heard about it when an invite came to us through Facebook. What the invite didn’t say was that the BFGW film crew was going to be there!
We first realized what was going on when we started queuing up at the door to pay to get in and a young lady, who most definitely wasn’t a Traveller, came out of the door and said in a big smiley voice: “Hey there – Hello! Can I interview you?” So I asked her back: “Why do you want to do that? Are you from Big Fat Gypsy Weddings?” She replied all friendly like again: “Why yes! Would you like to be on it?”
I looked sideways at my brother just as he was looking at me and we then turned back to her and both said “Oh yes, we would LURVE to!” We were only having a laugh but she didn’t realize and went away and came back with a camera, so we had to say: “No, go away! Don’t point that thing at us!” Then our friend came up and said: “If you point that camera anywhere near me I will smash it!”
I told the lady with the camera that I disagreed with Big Fat Gypsy Weddings and that it was terrible how there were no editorial rights for the people on the show and it often was cut to make them look stupid, but she told me that was wrong and that anyone who agreed to go on the show that night would be able to see it before it went live so that mistakes could be cut. Yeah right! I think that she simply said this as a way to try and lure us in.
The lady then told everyone in the queue how they would be filming them dance, so I asked her why they only zoomed into young girls bodies when filming and she said that this was to show off their “beautiful outfits”. So then I asked her why they only filmed girls that were wearing shorts or short skirts and belly tops and not girls with nice long dresses and outfits. She said that everyone would be getting filmed dancing.
They then went through the crowd and asked people of the ages of 14, 15 and 16 whether they would they like to participate and filled their ears with crap,such as how famous they would become and how they wanted to show how wonderful Traveller culture is. Which they do not! They got signatures and phone numbers of the naive young girls and boys who agreed. One boy who was hesitant to being interviewed was told him that it was better to the interview him now while he was sober instead of later when he was drunk – and he was only 16!?! They made one young girl in shorts and a small top pose against a wall while they pictured and filmed her. She was ONLY BEING 15!! This is not right! None of their parents were there either!
Eventually the lady and other film-crew people got everyone in the queue to pose for a photo which they took with their iPhones. They told us to either put our thumbs up if we wanted to be on the show and to put our thumbs down if we didn’t. They then said that they would also need us to sign a form if we didn’t want to be on the show and wanted our faces blurred out. I said that wasn’t fair because I don’t want to sign your forms and I also don’t want to be on the show! It was all very confusing.
The younger ones believed all the stuff about being famous and would have done anything to get five minutes on telly. Most of the older ones just wished the camera crew would go away because they were spoiling what otherwise would have been a good night. They were really annoying and always bothering people.
To tell the truth, it was a good night in a glamorous night club and I enjoyed it; with the music and friends and everything, and it was on two floors so although they moved about a bit, you could avoid the film crew if you kept your eyes open.
I would go again, but it was a shame that the film crew were there. It felt to me that they had picked the perfect spot to try to ‘buy’ young naive Travellers with their false promises of fame and fortune and that’s wrong.