BBC in Eastbourne Article No. 8
The television came to Eastbourne today, and I was interviewed. Yep, little me. They wanted to know about the town’s history, and of course there was no-one else to ask.
Eastbourne Council wanted a local interesting person to be interviewed, as well as the chairman of the Hospitality Association, and a prominent hotelier. The others said their pieces outside their own locations, I was on the dotto train.
We have a great free air show every August, lasting four days. It has been running for well over twenty years, initially lasting two days but it just grew and grew. At the beginning it was organised by local businessmen and hoteliers in conjunction with the local council, but the demands outgrew the enthusiasm so the council now arranged the whole thing.
The BBC have a local station and every day at 6.30pm have a half hour of ‘South East Today’. August Friday’s have a different seaside location, and August 14th is Eastbourne’s turn, coinciding with Airbourne.
We have two seafront dotto trains, each with three carriages behind the engine. They toot toot along the promenade and road where appropriate, at a very reasonable £2 per journey or £5 unlimited all day ticket. As BBC filming, we had our own private reserved carriage.
Programme presenter Paddy O’Connell wanted to know about the typical Eastbourne visitor, what attractions they would enjoy, and why stay in Britain for a summer vacation instead of travelling further.
He and I sat in the reserved carriage with cameraman Graham, as he held the muffled microphone below out of sight.
The train bounced away along the promenade, with Graham attempting to concentrate on filming, retaining his balance, and recording a great segment with me as the star.
The dotto train route takes the passengers along the flat four mile promenade past the Carpet Gardens close to the pier – Gardens looking good this year – and the slow pace means you can look at the Victorian terraces, mainly hotels but some expensive apartments. The only five star hotel on the south coast is Eastbourne’s Grand, plenty of four star establishments, and the subtle colours of the buildings. Nothing garish, not allowed under ancient covenants administered by the Dukes of Devonshire over the years.
Presenter Paddy lives in London, and was unable to leave his dog at home for the day, so brought the lovely little short haired pooch to the seaside for the day. Sorry, no idea of the dog’s breed or name. Shame on me.
Harry Pope is Eastbourne’s only sight-seeing guide. More on www.harrythewalker.com and www.harrythewriter.com