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The BBC show you won’t see in North America

March 25, 2013

From Atlantic Cities:

Set against the studied modesty of (Brtish television programming), the new BBC documentary series The Planners is almost racy.

The series sets itself up to follow municipal planners across the country, recording largely civil, occasionally bleep-filled exchanges between officials and objectors. Set in three carefully chosen, photogenic spots– medieval Chester, winsomely pretty Gloucestershire and the Plannersrelatively wild Scottish Borders – it’s partly bucolic downtime escapism and partly a sidelong look at the state of Britain today. And yes, it’s actually fascinating. …

But beyond the loving footage of hedgerows and old stone, The Planners also documents a major shift in Britain. The country’s economy is still flailing, and the government is trying to kick-start it with construction, relaxing planning laws and pressuring local authorities to green light pretty much anything. In a crowded country hungry for new housing, once taboo land parcels are now being paved over. As one planner in the program puts it:

Once it was a case of whether a project was good enough to be allowed. Now we’re asking if it’s really bad enough to be refused.

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