More than 1,600 people have signed an online petition calling for the BBC to issue an apology over its controversial ‘I Love Larne’ documentary.
The campaign was started by a group of local photographers, known as Larne Through a Lens, which aims to promote the town by capturing images of the stunning scenery, beautiful coast and rolling hills, and sharing it online for all to see.
The petition describes the show as a “wholly inaccurate portrayal of Larne and its people” and urges people to sign up if they feel Larne was “cut a raw deal in the amateurish filmmaking and editing in ‘True North: I Love Larne”.
Brian McCullough, co-founder of Larne Through a Lens, explained: “We have been working tirelessly to promote the borough with our pictures, but this diabolical documentary has counteracted much of that hard work.
“We wanted an apology from the BBC for this misrepresentation of our town, and so we started the petition the day after the show was broadcast.”
But Brian was taken aback by how quickly the campaign gathered momentum.
“We didn’t think it would become so popular so fast, which just goes to show the strength of feeling in the town regarding this issue,” he added.
Meanwhile, Crafty Copy stationary shop on Main Street has opened a book to give local people the opportunity to put into words what they love about the town.
Employee Neill Murray said: “We felt the programme showed Larne in a very bad light. This is our small attempt to help redress the balance.”
Responding to the public backlash over the documentary, a BBC NI spokesman told the Times that the broadcaster was “concerned about the negative reaction” to the programme from viewers and elected representatives in Larne.
He added: “We want to understand people’s concerns and to reassure them that our intention was to provide an affectionate glimpse of life within the borough.
“The programme’s story-telling was character-led and impressionistic. And it very much reflected the style of the filmmaker involved.
“No programme or series can ever tell the full story of a community. Other stories, voices and views are always available and waiting to heard. Our challenge and opportunity is to bring these different aspects of Larne’s diversity to the BBC’s airwaves.
“Audience feedback and the civic pride that people have been expressing over the last few days will make this job much easier and we very much appreciate the time that people have taken to get in touch with us,” the spokesman concluded.