After winning I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here in 2018, former football manager Harry Redknapp became the nation’s favourite cheeky chappy. Having grown up on a council estate in Stepney Green and worked his way up through the cutthroat world of the beautiful game, the 72-year-old captured our hearts with his down-to-Earth outlook and unbounded love for his “beautiful” wife of 55 years, Sandra.
He hasn’t been off the screen since, racking up appearances on This Morning, Good Morning Britain, All Star Mr and Mrs, The One Show, Hard To Please OAPs, Harry’s Heroes – the list goes on. And why shouldn’t it? He’s a top bloke, “one of the good ones”, a decent man and the public love him.Which is why I find his latest series, Harry Redknapp’s Sandbanks Summer, so jarring. This half-hour ITV entertainment show (though the channel has billed it as a travel programme) mainly consists of Redknapp showing us around his stomping ground, the outrageously expensive Sandbanks peninsula in Poole, Dorset. “Where property costs more than Manhattan,” he explains over footage of mansions hugging the sunny coast, “And one row of just 13 houses costs £90m.”
Redknapp “knows he is lucky” to live in such an exclusive area and it isn’t news that he’s rich. A quick Google places his net worth at £14m and, honestly, I was expecting it to be more. But even with this knowledge, Sandbanks Summer’s yachts, manors, Range Rovers and private planes feel overly ostentatious. At best, its worst crime is refusing to read the room in a society struggling to recover from years of austerity. At worst, it’s offensive.
The first episode saw one of Redknapp’s pals, another former footballer turned TV personality Neil “Razor” Ruddock, visit his glass-fronted castle in the sands under the guise of wanting to find his own place on the spit. “There’s a cheap place up here,” says Redknapp to Razor and comedian Joe Pasquale, who has also (rather inexplicably) tagged along. “It’s about five mill.” I want to think he’s joking, but it’s a little too on the nose to tell.
Just an hour after Sandbanks Summer wrapped up its first episode with Redknapp complaining about having to walk around his garden cleaning up after his dogs, BBC One aired the last instalment of its docuseries Universal Credit: Inside The Welfare State. In it, we met people who have no home, are unable to claim benefits despite being too unwell to work, who have to ration their food to make sure they can make it to their next Universal Credit payment. It was an infuriating and heartbreaking record of British society.
Perhaps it is unfair to compare Sandbanks Summer and Universal Credit – one is intended as light, meaningless entertainment; the other a serious report on what could be a national crisis. But nothing – not even the mystical world of television – exists in a vacuum. The writers, producers and commissioners know that by lauding Redknapp’s wealth, they are reinforcing class divides of the haves and the have-nots.
Add in the fact that Redknapp is currently the face of BetVictor adverts and the show feels even more gauche. It’s well known that the gambling industry actively targets poorer people, promising them the chance of a windfall and the opportunity to live life like Harry Redknapp. When that luxurious life – that has been worked hard for, and not won by a lucky bet – is then broadcast on ITV, a vicious cycle begins to form.
TV has long been obsessed with the very rich – The Real Housewives series, MTV Cribs – the very poor – Benefits Street, Benefits Britain – and the vast difference between them (Channel 5 are currently broadcasting a series called Rich Holiday, Poor Holiday). But as the use of food banks continues to rise and we prepare for the nationwide roll-out of Universal Credit, it’s time for execs to be a little more conscious.By all means let Harry Redknapp have a travel programme – who wouldn’t want to see him dress up as a medieval knight? But do we really need to know how much his house cost?
Special Thanks to INews for their Article- https://inews.co.uk/culture/television/harry-redknapps-sandbanks-summer-itv-money-1995850