My Big Fat Gypsy Fortune (1 x 60′) – Ever since the show began, millions of viewers have watched the extravagant weddings and asked the same question – where does all the money come from?
It has been the Travelling community’s most closely guarded secret. Until now…
This documentary reveals the secrets of the clandestine Gypsy and Traveller economy for the first time, showing how those in the community earn their money… and how they fund the incredible weddings…
Revealing a community with its own unique customs, traditions and attitudes towards money, we will see how Gypsies and Travellers form some of the richest and the poorest people in society.
At one end we will meet 15 year old Romany Gypsy Alfie Best, whose father, also Alfie, is worth in excess of £100 million. As he shows us around the families enormous 23 bedroom home, Alfie explains that, as a Gypsy man, he has make his own way in the world. To this end Alfie as already left school and is now setting about making his fortune. We follow Alfie as he goes door-to-door selling paint, but as a minor he has had to hire a driver to take him on his rounds. We also follow Alfie as he takes a trip to one of his fathers many caravan sites in the family helicopter.
At the other end of the scale George is a Romany Gypsy who is down on his luck. He lives in a small caravan and has to graft for every penny he can get. We follow George as he goes ‘hawking’ – the travelling salesman tradition that has been passed down from the days when the entire community spent their lives on the road. George is a jack-of-all-trades who will sell anything to anybody. We see him unsuccessfully trying to pedal manure and talk to him about a traveller’s attitude to money and, revealingly, tax.
Meanwhile Romany Gypsy CassyAnne spends her time blinging up household goods and selling them on for profit. But although the business keeps the money coming in, husband Bill as dreams of making his fortune by breeding dogs for the popular gypsy sport of ‘lamping’. We follow Bill and his friends as they head out into a local field in the dead of night – shining a light on the rabbits to stun them, before releasing his dogs. But they don’t have permission to be on the land and the local farmer has a gun….
Finally we meet Irish Traveller Larry, who is planning a wedding for his eldest daughter Margaret. Like most traveller girls Margaret is going all out to have a huge wedding. Eight bridesmaids, 300 guests and a huge white dress don’t come cheap, but Larry is determined that his daughter has nothing but the best. But as Larry later reveals, travellers have a secret way of financing their breathtaking weddings.
Action packed and full of fresh, fascinating insights into the travelling community, My Big Fat Gypsy Fortune is a show that will uncover the secrets of the gypsy economy for the first time.
Channel: Channel 4
Producer: Firecracker Films
TX: 14th April 2013
Source: Channel 4 press release