Residents deserved better from documentary

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SCARBORIANS who watched Nicholas Crane’s attempt to portray their home town (BBC2, Thursday August 4) must have been disappointed. The pictures were pretty, but the programme was narrowly selective, historically illiterate, superficial and very unbalanced. It told us much more about Nicholas Crane than Scarborough, past, present or future.

Any local archaeologist (was one asked?) worth his trowel would have explained to him that no evidence of Viking presence has ever been found in Scarborough; that we no longer believe (unlike the BBC) in Saga legends about “Skarthi’s burg” and the fanciful holocaust of 1066; and that the spa waters were discovered by Thomasin (not Elizabeth) Farrer.

Does Scarborough still have a North Side? Peasholm Park, the miniature railway, the restored Open Air Theatre, even The Sands – not a dicky bird! Does Scarborough have only one hotel? The Grand is conspicuous, but is it unique or representative?

Are Scarborough’s town cliffs crumbling? Or is Knipe Point another special case? The Spa Grand Hall is a splendid, expensive Victorian anachronism, but as a major entertainment venue how does it compare with the Futurist, another absentee? There was no hint in the programme of this urgent, fundamental question about Scarborough’s future.

Was the Tesco superstore issue too sensitive for the BBC? Here was another omission of what to many Scarborians is a matter of the greatest concern.

We all know that fishing has been devastated by European regulation: Scarborough’s experience is not exceptional. But what about its new, massive £40 million sea defences and Marine Drive, made possible only by European subsidy? Like them or not, they are the biggest civil engineering achievement in Scarborough’s historical contest with the North Sea.

Finally, how appropriate was it to visit Britain’s first seaside health and pleasure resort in the middle of the coldest winter for years? Licence fee-paying Scarborians deserve better.

Jack Binns

Chatsworth Gardens