Documentary Celebrating the Relationship Between Travel and National Identity
Charting the history of caravanning in Great Britain since the Second World War, this documentary shows how the cheap caravan opened up new vistas for many holidaymakers who hitherto had spent most of their leisure time confined to seaside resorts. Now they could travel anywhere they wished, discover new nooks and crannies of the British countryside and still enjoy home comforts each night in the comfort of their caravan. The vogue for caravans became so popular that Britain at one time housed the largest caravan manufacturing company in the world - Sprite. Inevitably tastes changed; the package holiday became more popular, and the industry declined. Now caravans have enjoyed something of a renaissance, even though they are much more sophisticated in terms of design than they were in days of yore. This documentary offers some oral recollections of long-term caravan users; their interviews reveal the British love of exploring, as well as their fondness for certain rituals, for example drinking tea. There is a curious contradiction at work here; a combination of the unfamiliar and familiar, which is something that a caravan can offer, unlike other types of vacation. While there is not the freedom now to park as one wishes at the side of the road (legislation has ensured that most caravans are now confined to specifically allotted areas), there is still a feeling amongst caravan users that they can go where they please - not just for a summer holiday, but each weekend as well. Like many documentaries, this program celebrates the Great British Eccentric going out in all weathers just for the sake of adventure, but it does show certain historical phenomena - such as lone women taking their children on vacation - which were often quite striking in the past.
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