Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Huddersfield showcased in BBC2 documentary

Last night saw BBC2 broadcast an edition of the documentary series 'Town', hosted by Nicholas Crane, which showcased Huddersfield, it's history, diversity and culture.

The cameras followed Crane on an historical tour of Huddersfield and it's surroundings, taking a largely chronological look at the history of the town, from it's foundation as an outlier to the Ramsden family's holdings in what is now Almondbury, to a market-based economy, to the story of the town buying itself from the Ramsdens and becoming truly independent.

On the way, we were taken through Standedge tunnel - an important element of the town becoming economically viable in the first place as it transported it's cloth to the ports - met the Luddites and the Victorians, taking us through to the new industrialists, still operating with cloth, but in new and innovative ways.

As well as the Luddites, we learned of the rugby rebellion of the late-19th century and had a brief discussion of the football club which could have been about any club in the country. Even the real ale scene, one of the town's recent success stories, got a peripheral once-over with a piece to camera shot in the Sportsman, multiple CAMRA award winner.

We ended with the carnival and a celebration of the diversity of culture the town has enjoyed and benefitted from since the early days of it's history with Crane taking part, looking almost as awkward as he did when deciding to run at Eorl Crabtree in a brief Rugby League demonstration. All human life was there, as it is when you walk down the streets on any given day. This is the Huddersfield we know and love and it's a reason why far-right sentiment has never gained much traction here and, hopefully, never will.

If you were to criticise the show, it's that it didn't focus on the current issues that the town faces - the fact that so many shop units remain closed, the proliferation of pawnbrokers and pound shops, a lack of real investment in many areas and the LBT announcing the morning after the broadcast that a Jason Manford show has sold out - a sign that the culture we saw so many people proud to celebrate in the film maybe isn't as developed as we might think it is.

What did you think of the show? If you are incapable of keeping your opinions to yourself, comment below or drop us a line on our twitter: @HuddScrutiniser

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