This is supposed to be the biggest production to hit Polish TV in ages. Or possibly ever. “Londyńczycy” (Londoners) is a new soap which debuts on TVP1 (Polish equivalent of BBC1) tonight. It has been heavily promoted all over the country with massive billboards and – judging by how many UK papers have picked up on the story – by an equally huge PR campaign.
So, what is “Londyńczycy”? To be honest, until yesterday I didn’t know much about it, but if The Daily Telegraph is to be believed, it
is the first Polish programme to look at the post-accession wave of immigration, which has seen many of Poland’s young people relocate to Britain.
Alarm bells. Alarm bells. Is it all about builders and waitresses then?
Two of the main characters are Darek, a 30-year-old Polish builder who lives in Ealing, west London, and Mariola, 25, who has come to the country to become famous and to marry a rich English gentleman. The gritty storylines will tackle subjects like racism and exploitation, and the series has already been compared to a ‘Polish Eastenders’.
Visually, Londoners recalls a smart, urban show like Queer as Folk. Most Poles will admit that until now, most of their indigenous TV drama has been pretty tawdry-looking stuff churned out for very little money. But with a budget of 13.5m zloty (£3m), Londoners has been able to up the ante, filming its interior shots in Poland, where studio space is still very cheap, and splurging on flashy exteriors shot on location in London. There are scenes at Wembley stadium, on the London Eye, at the South Bank Centre and at other less postcard-familiar spots around the capital including Victoria bus station, a Polish deli and a Western Union money transfer outlet.
Can’t remember a Western Union money transfer outlet from Queer as Folk, but never mind. I’ll look out for clips of it on YouTube to see what it’s all about myself. I don’t think it will aim to show the whole picture about the Polish migrants in the UK, just like EastEnders does not necessarily represent all Londoners. After all Polish dentists and GPs are nowhere near as interesting as Polish baddies, who, according to the series producer, Andrzej Szajna
are screwing over other Poles, which is so often the case in real life.
Image © itvp