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Making 'Full Frontal in Flip-Flops' (Aug 1998)
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Making 'Full Frontal in Flip-Flops'  Studland United Nudists

  Making 'Full Frontal in Flip-Flops'  Studland United Nudists  

Angila TV director Don Boyd interviews SUN Chairman Mark Nisbet, while other SUN members distract the National Trust minder

  SUN members (l-r) Mark Nisbet, Robert Baggs, Julia Sims, Colin James, Marianne Grant and Tower Productions MD James Scarlett, during filming for Full Frontal in Flip-flops
 
 
Making 'Full Frontal in Flip-Flops'  Studland United Nudists
SUN Chairman Mark Nisbet talks to film director Don Boyd who made the naturist documentary Full Frontal in Flip Flops shown on the ITV network during January 1999. SUN's case was fairly covered in this amusing documentary. 

August Bank Holiday week 1998 was a busy one for SUN members. On the Sunday, a fairly good turnout assembled at the usual spot in readiness for the filming of a documentary for TV (subsequently broadcast on January 5th under the title "Full Frontal in Flip-flops" - comments elsewhere in this issue). Director Don Boyd, with a hand-held camera apparently superglued to the side of his head (disconcertingly reminiscent of the Borg in Star Trek!) was everywhere at once, filming and interviewing everyone he could find, while the National Trust's "minder" stood around trying to look nonchalant but fitting in just about as well as a pork chop in a synagogue.

The appearance of the camera crew created, hilariously, an instant exclusion zone for twenty five yards around our encampment, on an otherwise crowded beach, the weather having gone against form and produced a brilliantly sunny day. An amusing diversion occurred when the National Trust minder spotted someone on the top of a nearby dune who appeared to be holding camera equipment. One of our number mischievously suggested it was the Channel 4 crew, throwing the minder into a panic. "They're not supposed to be here today!" he coughed, (Translation: We haven't had their thousand quid yet, and we haven't got any spare minders to stop them filming things we don't want them to see) and raced off to remonstrate with them, returning rather red-faced a few minutes later, having discovered nothing more threatening than a metal-detector!

As the day wore on, we abandoned our plans for a demonstration outside the red posts in favour of an early start to the beach party. Everyone had a good time, and your reporter eventually left the beach on the 9.00 p.m. ferry, having walked to within twenty yards of the ferry road before dressing which excited not a single comment from the few remaining souls in Shell Bay.

Some of us were not altogether comfortable with the director's methods: interviewing several people at once, we felt, made it difficult to get our message across coherently and we found the crews reluctance to strip off rather off-putting - although, to be fair, some of them did get their kit off after they had finished filming for the day. Or almost finished: on their way off the beach they encountered late arrival and (now) SUN Board member Jan Welsh, who gave them a resounding earful, some of which did not end up on the cutting room floor, even if they did get her name wrong in the captions! Well done Jan, and thanks to all those members who made the effort to join us and gave a good showing.

On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of the Bank Holiday week the weather was dull, cold and miserable and our spirits sank a bit: it looked as if the Channel 4 filming session might be a washout. However, on Thursday the sun came out again and director Sam Anthony turned up with his crew, all nude, which helped to make for a very much more relaxed atmosphere. For various reasons only the Secretary was available for interview on behalf of SUN, and the crew spent a considerable time interviewing him at his encampment and at the infamous red post line.

We were under the impression that the TV programme was intended for broadcast very soon after the filming was complete, and that the C4 one would follow later, possibly not before the New Year. However, it turned out that the C4 programme, A Natural Affair, went out on November 23rd 1998 and the TV one didn't appear until January 5th 1999. Disappointingly, the Bournemouth Daily Echo passed up the opportunity to do a feature but our ride on the crest of the wave of publicity continued, with a phone call from Carlton TV asking us to take part in Thursday Night Live on January 7th. This programme was to be broadcast from Nottingham and I wrote urgently to around thirty members living in that area, asking them to contact the programme researcher if they were willing to take part. Unfortunately, I misunderstood the original message from Carlton and told our members it was for a daytime show - it is actually a late night programme, broadcast after the soon-defunct News at Ten. My apologies to the members concerned for the error. In the event, this item was held over as it turned out to be the day the US Senate started proceedings against Clinton; I suppose this was understandable, there's much more mileage in a leader of the western world who seems to screw anything that stands still long enough, than in a discussion about nuddies.

However, a couple of rather puzzling letters arrived during that week which sent me scurrying to the newsagents to buy the January H&E - not a publication I would normally bother with, but this one contains an excellent article about Studland, and a lot of not exactly pro-CCBN commentary. It is good that a mainstream nudist magazine is publicising our difficulties, and in such a way as to show the senile sycophants of CCBN for the tossers they are. Good also to read, in the letters page, that SUN members are not the only ones to think that way!

So, nudists are unquestionably flavour of the month. For our part, we will definitely do our best to keep the momentum going, grasping each and every opportunity to put our point of view across, and we hope the rest of the membership will do the same. If you hear something on the radio, or see something on the telly, or spot a piece in the paper, then please, please respond to it - and let us know! Many thanks to those members who have sent in press cuttings and details of programmes that we might have missed, with a particular word of thanks to John Neal, who recorded the Radio 4 Shorelines item and made a special journey to bring the tape round to me. Much appreciated, John: it enabled me to fire off a letter to Swanage Police about PC Norton's comments. So far, we have had no response specifically to that issue, but we do have an interesting written commitment from the police. A copy of that letter is enclosed with this newsletter - keep it with you, and if you get any hassle from the police produce the letter with a triumphant flourish! (It would be churlish to draw attention to the syntactical errors!) And please keep those cuttings coming - I cant possibly read every newspaper in the country!


Review of 'Full Frontal in Flip-Flops'

January 5th 1999 saw the broadcast of the other programme we had taken part in. Anglia TVs Full Frontal in Flip-flops was a very different kettle of fish. In fact, I formed the impression about halfway through that the programme was less about nudism than about the director examining his angst about his own body. Nevertheless, nudists of all shapes and sizes were well represented, including a wedding party at Rivendell (complete with nude priest) and Tower Productions owner James Scarlett, who revealed himself to be pretty competent at tickling the ivories.

Once again, Mark Nisbet managed to put across our argument in his usual cogent fashion, and other SUN members made forceful contributions. Pity they got Jan Welsh's name wrong, but she also put our point of view across with a sound personal spin. Thankfully, the director chose not to inflict any more of Craven Walkers rabid rantings on us, and we were spared the worst excesses of CCBN, although the National Trust's Julian Homer was given some airtime to try to justify - unconvincingly - the National Trust's megalomania. One quotation sums up their attitude: "By defining the area, we are better able to take control (my emphasis) of those who might want to use naturism for other purposes".

All in all, the programmes added up to a double whammy of positive publicity for freedom, and revealed the Establishment for the ridiculous has-beens that they are. We ought to be grateful to those members who were prepared to stand up and be counted, and it is to be hoped that their example will encourage others to be more positive about our harmless and innocuous pursuit.