Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Press Release - Former Margate Town Team Members response to Mary Queen of the High Street, May 14th 2013

Press Release
Wednesday May 15th 2013

Last night's screening of Mary Portas' Mary Queen of the High Street produced by Optomen Television (May 14th 2013, Channel 4) told a story which is contradicted by the records we hold as former members of Margate Town Team.

We will be publishing full details of our concerns with the programme today and taking forward an official complaint to OFCOM. In particular, we will be making a complaint under Section 7 of the Broadcasting Code, about fairness.

As we were concerned prior to transmission with the direction of the programme, we have asked Optomen Television for a right of reply. This was refused on April 30th:

"we do not feel that this is required as we make no allegations or criticisms of you in the Programme."

Far from being an accurate record of events surrounding Margate Town Team, Optomen has created, and Channel4, broadcast a fabricated a storyline against early members of the Town Team which runs contrary to what actually happened.

There are several key differences between the programme that aired last night and what actually happened. We believe that the facts show that Optomen Television's behaviour was a key influence in the story playing out in the way that it did.

The Portas Pilots were meant to bring communities together. The activities of the programme makers have brought conflict to a struggling community, leaving the original bid team that secured Government funding for their town disappointed and undermined. 

Optomen Television were uninterested in filming the Town Team's many efforts to bring their winning bid to the people of Margate, yet have presented a programme that seeks to show how Margate Town Team were unwelcoming and hostile to Mary Portas and Optomen Television. Margate Town Team were not invited to meet or speak with Mary Portas before they filmed the staged conflict scene on the steps of Woolworths on June 12th.

Robin Vaughan-Lyons (Former Chairman, Margate Town Team)
Roxana Tesla (Former Vice-Chairman, Margate Town Team)
Louise Oldfield (Former Secretary & Press Officer, Margate Town Team)

07932 713292


  1. Loiuse, there is no reason why Mary Portas should need to consult the Town Team before being allowed into a public meeting. Anyone has a right to attend.

  2. Exactly. She wasn't refused permission.

  3. Comments will now be closed on this topic. Pending the complaint to Ofcom.

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