Towie, or The Only Way is Essex, has become something of a television success. The series is set around real people in the county of Essex, England. They are hardly run of the mill folk but you get the picture. As with any TV success there is money to be paid and entrepreneurs have jumped on the TOWIE bandwagon left, right and centre. This has not been plain sailing though.
Yorkshire we have a problem.
The London producer of a T'Only Way is Yorkshire T Shirt thought he was one to a sure fire winner and money maker, The twist on TOWIE and word pu would raise a laugh and plenty of cash. Wrong.
In an attempt to add images relevant to Yorkshire to the T Shirt, various celebrities were added. Joke images of people such as Norah Batty, a character in Last of the Summer Wine, Keighley born actress Mollie Sugden and the Yorkshire Ripper. What the Ripper?
Yes it seems that Totally Original T Shirts had not thought that the T Shirts might cause offense or hurt anyone's feelings. Peter Sutcliffe, the Yorkshire Ripper, is still serving a life sentence in jail for the murder of 13 women. He also violently attacked another 7 women. Sutcliffe's reign of terror began in Yorkshire in 1969 and did not end until 1980.
There have been calls for the T Shirts to be withdrawn, by a Bradford Councillor and more. Councillor David Green has called the shirts, and the inclusion of Sutcliffe, the lowest of the low. Sutcliffe's reign of terror hit Bradford and its community hard. Many others have expressed their disgust at the goods. Then of course there are the loved ones of those killed and attacked by the Ripper plus the victims of his attacks.
A representative of Totally Original T shirts, when confronted on a local news program with one of the relatives, said they would re-think the design. It may seem a storm in a teacup but the terror that Sutcliffe inflicted has taken time to subside.
The Yorkshire City that I hail from, and still live in, has had more than its fair share of famous people. Here alone there are a wealth of possible celebrities past and present such as Tom Courtney, The Housemartins, Mick Ronson, John Alderton, Norman Collier, Maureen Lipman, Phillip Larkin, Andrew Marvell, William Wilderforce, Joe Longthorne, John Prescott, Alan Plater, Trevor Bolder, Amy Johnson, Roland Gift, The Beautiful South, Andrew Motion, Keith Devlin, Nick Barmby, Barrie Rutter, Sheila Mercier, Francis Durbridge, Ian Carmichael, Herbert Baker, Thomas Ferens and Maria Gilhooley(aka Waterson)
The fact that the T Shirt designers could not do better than using the Yorkshire link to the Ripper shows a lack of imagination, it seems.
Eileen Kersey manages TEK Staff Blog