Channel 4 show criticised after calling Llŷn Peninsula ‘Cheshire-by-the-Sea’

A screenshot from the programme

A programme broadcast on Channel 4 about a couple looking for a summer home in Gwynedd has been criticised by viewers.

The programme A Place in the Sun: Home or Away was strongly criticised on social media after it was seen to advise viewers on the best places to buy second homes in the area.

During the program, the Llŷn Peninsula is referred to as “Cheshire-by-the-Sea”, and the “Land’s End of Wales”.

The Llŷn Peninsula, where over 70% of the population speak Welsh, has often been at the forefront of efforts to save the Welsh language.

Protest groups have long complained that second homes raise house prices, forcing young people who have grown up in the area to live elsewhere.

Iola Wyn, who has presented programmes for the BBC and S4C, complained about the programme on Facebook and said it raised “big questions” about the summer home industry in Wales.

“It raises big questions that now need to be answered about immigration into Welsh-speaking communities,” she told Golwg360.

“It’s a subject politicians aren’t willing to get to grips with at the moment because they think it’s too sensitive. They think that it would be music to the ears of anti-Welsh language politicians.

“It’s not black and white. We need a realistic assessment of the situation. How many summer homes are in our Welsh-speaking communities?”

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19 Comments

  1. Does anyone know where on Facebook the above occurred? I can’t find it. This sort of thing happens regularly on such programs – down with it, I say.

  2. Capitalist and Welshnash

    If this happened in other countries, the locals would show up at these people’s doors with a steel rod and solve the problem.

  3. Welsh as f**k but speak English, like 90% of Wales.

    But it’s true. The locals are only there to serve the all fur coat no knickers common as muck but with Range Rovers Cheshire set.

    It’ll be a lot worse when the Caernarfon bypass opens the Lleyn up.

    It is Lleyn by the way. Named after the Irish Viking who stripped the peninsula (and Anglesey) away from Gwynedd.

    • CambroUiDunlainge

      I think you’ll find it was the Laigin who occupied what is now Gwynedd before Cunedda forced them out (like 400 A.D). Vikings were Norse who came much later (790s). If I remember correctly the etymology of the name “Gwynedd” itself was Gaelic (Gaelic which was the Brythonic name for Irish – meaning Pirate). Irish Vikings were a group which came into existence after the Vikings took Dublin – better called Norse-Gaels. Llyn or Lleyn works… Lleyn is regarded as the Anglicised version even though it does sound closer to “Leinster” also named for the Laigin (and is to this day their homeland).

  4. The last time I checked, Cheshire has its own coastline with beautiful seaside resorts within easy commuting distance (and good public transport links) of its conurbations. It’s called the Wirral. The Llŷn Peninsula is in another country, and Channel 4 would do well to remember that.

  5. Oh, 7th June 2015 it was first broadcast. No wonder I couldn’t find it on the Place in the Sun Facebook page where I was going to make a few choice comments. It’s obviously being broadcast again though, so still very relevant, and demonstrates a real and present attitude. People might want that bit of information, though (those who don’t know already, of course!).

  6. This fits in well with the spate of supremacist Anglo centric world view that’s being pushed by all sorts of media and politics. Sadly, Brexit is also based on the same set of premises, that the Anglos will come out on top and jonny foreigner hasn’t got a chance. I backed Brexit, but as a first step, with the next major step being disengagement of Cymru from the U.K. That idea that the whole of our country is open to being picked off for “leisure opportunities” needs to be well and truly kicked into touch as one of a number of gestures that will begin to restore balance.

  7. Margaret Taylor-Hill

    How very sad that such a beautiful part of Wales can be thought of as little more than an English playground. Cheshire-on-Sea is the Wirral anyway.I was born in England and recently moved to the Llŷn Peninsula on retirement. One of my first things on settling here was to look for a Welsh language course. I find it incredible that English people move to a Welsh speaking area of Wales and still expect everyone to speak English! I’ve met an English woman who has lived here for 30 years and still can’t speak or understand a word of Welsh! It seems unthinkable to me. It’s sad to see all the empty houses which are 2nd homes occupied only in the summer months, and all the ludicrous prices driven up by people who spend the rest of their lives elsewhere. I would be 100% behind a Welsh independence movement – provided I don’t get kicked out and sent back to England just because I was born there. We have friends who moved to rural France and are now fluent in the French language. Not all English are the stereotypical “Everybody should speak English so I don’t have to learn the language of Johnny Foreigner” types thankfully. I am proud of my Welsh ancestry and hope to spend the rest of my days here.

  8. Tame Frontiersman

    It’s probably in the nature of these sort of programmes and not just the property related one. The feel one gets is of moving to landscapes conveniently devoid of a people, but with lovely views, to do their own thing and If the natives do get a look in at all, it is the spirit of “there’ll be welcome on the hillside”, of iiw-jiwing hillbilly-yokels handing out cups of cuprinol strength tea while the sound of a male voice choir drifts in from somewhere. In the European versions, a frequent theme is one of networks of local Brits all mucking in together to get the newcomers settled in.

    Solutions for Wales: Legislation? Direct Action?

    One thing that does puzzle me is that as far as I can see there’s no one in England championing the Welsh cause. Why doesn’t this neo-colonialism prick their consciences? There’s guilt over Britain’s colonial past and there are people who will anger and protest over things like the British Government’s slowness to respond to the devastation caused by Hurricane Irma of territories one suspects many people not rich enough for posh holidays or into tax avoision did not know were still British possessions.

    Arguing from the point of view that the Welsh have inalienable right and do not need to suffer patronising or pity from others is a fair point, but in practice rights of a people are only any good if other people recognise them and prepared to act to protect them, possibly even to die for them. So is Wales missing a trick by not doing more to get under the skin of the English to persuade them that they too have a role in protecting Wales’ unique language and culture?

    • Capitalist and Welshnash

      Direct action is the answer to that question. If Local, National and British wide government sees people raising hell and starting a raucous so loud and sinister that the local authorities cannot control it, they will be forced to enact legislation to protect Welsh speaking communities.

      God helps those who help themselves. Cliché, but it has a tonic of truth in it.

    • I see where you are coming from here, but quite simply we spend too much time as it is worrying what the English think of us. It’s not that there isn’t support for our cause amongst some English people, I’ve been quite surprised at the level of understanding and sympathy amongst anarchists in England, who would readily support our cause, would we as a people start to stand up for ourselves. It’s fine to comment in places like this blog, as it does provide a means of measuring support, and communicating between interested parties. But these are just words. Traditionally we are very good with words, but we desperately need actions as well.

      People often ask why many Welsh people seem to have no backbone. Centuries of oppression and a lack of support from our own politicians perhaps explains why most Welsh people don’t take part in standing up for Wales, plus an ingrained sense that we must always be polite, which often means that we are expected to speak English to English settlers, even when they have been settled here for more than a couple of years. The simple cultural assertion of refusing to speak English to settlers after a certain amount of time should be enough to sort out those who genuinely want to be here, and those who are just seeking a good life experience.

      Even if legislation were passed, it’s unlikely that it’d be anything effective, witness the dreadfully inadequate Welsh Language Act 1993 and the Welsh Language Measure 2011. Direct Action has been tried, by both Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg and by Cymuned, as well as less constutional bodies such as Mudiad Amddiffyn Cymru in the 60s and by Meibion Glyndŵr in the late 70s and 80s. Most of these direct action campaigns have been anything like sustained enough, and have all suffered from a craven attitude amongst our politicians, afraid that the issues are too contraversial, (Labour might accuse Plaid of being nationalists!) or that anything that properly champions the cause and needs of Welsh speaking communities is immediately, without further examination, deemed to be racist, especially amongst the lazy left of British politics.

      I don’t have any well developed ideas as to how we could begin to counter the situation we find ourselves in, but I’m pretty sure that it needs to start with us, as it is we who are directly affected. Certainly politicians need to be made aware that they can’t just ignore the issue, just because it might put them in the hot seat, and that they are risking their seat if they don’t take the issue seriously enough.

  9. Important to remember a couple of things:
    1. This programme’s raison d’etre is to take people from overpriced areas to underpriced areas and show them a fakse Utopia.

    2. They do this in underprivileged and rural English areas too. And it’s no less palatable.

    The problem is the programme’s general ethos and not its treatment of Wales.

  10. The BBC is no better. It always seems to be glossed over on Escape to the Country how the migrants will support themselves in their new rural idyll.
    I don’t watch it much these days, but a couple of episodes that sticked in my mind was one in Ceredigion where the couple who wanted to move there wanted to be ‘self-sufficient’ on a small farm. I don’t think they realised how much hard work that would be. The other one was people looking for barns to convert in Devon, and the presenters trying to break it to them that all of the possible barn conversions had already been done in that area.
    I reckon they could make a new version called Escape from the Country for people wanting to leave rural poverty for life in a town. Maybe one for S4C’s Dim Byd perhaps?

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