The Romanians Are Coming: Episode 2

Well it’s just finished, and it was very good. Watch it here:

The episode centered on a nurse, Mihaela, who left what looked like a relatively comfortable life in Constanta to work in a nursing home in Sheffield. (In fact, she had been promised another, more glamorous gig elsewhere: it was only when she arrived in the UK that she found out she was going to Sheffield: she also gets ripped off due to ‘complications’ with her papers and eventually returns home. It’s an awful story of exploitation by the agency that hired her).

If anyone comes across badly in this episode it is the English – the people of Sheffield especially – who are portrayed as racist scum. (Actually, the people interviewed are racist scum. One bloke even talked about the ‘weakening of British blood’. Really).

The programme also – it has to be said – does little for Sheffield’s image in general. Will the people of Sheffield (or the city council) be crying about it? No. Will there be protests outside of Channel 4’s offices? No.

We therefore await the reaction of the snobs. Given that, once again, no wealthy Romanian bankers living in Knightsbridge were featured, we are certain that they will still find something to complain about.

Meantime, the immediate reaction of Brits on Twitter appears to be very positive and generally pro-Romanian. A few examples from the hashtag #romaniansarecoming:

Etc. More here.

  • karl

    I watched the first episode (thank you for pointing it out, Craig!). Having Romanian friends who work in the UK for the last five years, some things were recognisable: co–housing, being promised a different job in a different town, absolute minimum wages which they did kind of expect, no regard for Romanian education certificates, the immigrants being glad to can rely on a (in their case, life-saving) decent health care system, the longing for home.

    But other parts were far from typical, especially the rough sleeping and drinking. The documentary did seem to focus on homeless guys with a drug past, even though they did come across as rather nice.

    I did have the feeling that makers wanted something spectacular – hence the selection of racist street interviews (not a single positive or neutral remark, come on!) and the guy standing on top of a Romanian garbage belt (symbolism, anyone?).

    Parts that made an impression of true documentary quality: the protrayal of Mihaela and her family back home, the humour of the narrator, and the scene inside the selection/emigration bureau where people were warned about risks. I’ll keep watching as well!

  • Simon Parker

    Interesting comments on Sheffield. The experience of the Romanian students that I’ve worked with who are now studying at the university has been overwhelmingly positive – in fact they say that the friendliness of the locals is one of its main selling points. However, I’m sure their ‘ivory tower’ does insulate them from many of the realities of life in the city – not sure how many Daily Mail readers they encounter on a regular basis…..

  • Thought the whole programme was a sad indictment of how the current labour market exploits people with seasonal, temporary, black market, zero hours work in the UK.. People who are desperate to better their lives and are willing to dislocate themselves from family, loved ones to pursue a basic standard of living. The programme, in the way it was edited and lack of commentary, allowed people to project their own prejudices on to the assorted characters and locations. Since this UK Coalition Govt came into power, programmes that can only be described as ‘poverty porn’ have proliferated. Eat the rich.

    • And Labour would be any better? Their cynical tuition fee move shows that they remain a far greater enemy of working people than the Tories.

      • Anon

        Doesn’t matter who you pick, they are all bastards. You just have to pick the lesser of the bastards…which is becoming more and more difficult.

        • Mr Rearguard

          Paedophiles anon, they are all paedophiles that need stringing up from their nuts till they turn black and become detached from their bodies.

          • Anon

            People need to hit the streets again and start getting violent. Everytime they get caught red handed stealing from us, or helping their banker mates get away with stealing from us nothing happens.
            Meanwhile they distract us with a war in the middle east which should be fought by the arabs, not the west. Wasting more of our money on arms to kill a bunch of goat shaggers who are no threat to us here in the uk.

        • Daniel

          What a nasty piece of work you are Anon.

  • Mr Rearguard
    • Expatescu

      I’m a Jew. Does that automatically make me less than you in some way?

      • Mr Rearguard

        Do you think it is normal to mutilate a baby boy before sucking him off?

        • Expatescu

          Of course not. But your persistent anti-Semitic comments (admittedly, you’re not the only one here who makes them) leads me to believe (perhaps erroneously – you tell me) that you regard all Jews with a certain level of disdain, although that level may fluctuate depending on the situation.

          • Expatescu

            Oh, and small point – that’s not what happens (in reference to your most-recent post). And you know it.

          • Mr Rearguard

            You don’t know what anti-Semitic really means. It’s a term pinched by the jews (as always) and given a new meaning to bore people who don’t fall for their lies (e.g holohoax etc)
            The true meaning of anti-Semitic means a deep hatred of Palestinians. That probably sounds like YOU Expatescu!

          • Expatescu

            No, that’s not how you describe me. You wouldn’t begin to know. You just assumed. That, along with your nutter video, tells me a great deal about you, and your refusal to look at history and facts. There can be execrable people of all beliefs. Sadly you’ve decided to paint one group with the same brush based on a great deal of irrational hatred and misinformation. I hope the same never happens to you. I do, however, hope you’ll enjoy a visit from the ADL.

          • Mr Rearguard

            There are over 200 meanings of ADL, which one are you refering to? Here are some examples.
            Activities of Daily Living+5
            Medical, Special Education, Psychology
            ADL Advanced Distributed Learning
            Military, Telecom
            ADL Additional
            ADL Anti Defamation League+1
            ADL Automatic Door Lock+1
            ADL Alexandria Digital Library
            ADL All Day Long
            Internet slang, CHAT, Texting
            ADL Amdl Inc
            Organizations, Technology
            ADL Adrenoleukodystrophy
            ADL Ada Design Language
            Technology, Army, Military
            ADL Avionics Development Laboratory
            RESEARCH, Technology, Astronautics
            ADL Acid Detergent Lignin
            Medical, Science, Biomedical, Bioscience
            ADL Animal Defense League

  • Mr Rearguard

    All paid actors taking part in a hatchet job on Romania. I can’t believe people are falling for it. Wake up!

  • Rasvan Lalu

    Thanks to your suggestion I could see both series of the „Romanians are coming“. This is an anti-Romanian electoral propaganda crap. I thought that the infamous anti-Romanian propaganda fomented by your media and political parties for electoral aims beginning with January 2013 was just an episode. I was naïve: now, you have again elections, your media is again inventing the “Romanian danger”.

    Everything in these two episodes is aimed at reinforcing the most infamous clichés and stereotypes about Romanians, which were hammered onto your ignorant people during the last two years, just in order to mobilise anti-European sentiments before the elections. These series fit so perfectly to the UKIP ideology that it looks as if UKIP has paid for the production.

    To look for the most desperate and miserable among the poorest of Romania and to pay them for playing the roles assigned by the screen-play of this farcical piece of propaganda, this is such an abhorrent and sad “journalism”.
    You called these desperate and miserable people “the dynamic, hard-working and highly entrepreneurial Romanian immigrants to the UK currently featuring in the Channel 4 documentary series The Romanians are Coming“ What a ferocious cynicism, what a cruelty !

    Out of the six characters portrayed in the two series, four are rough sleepers, that’s 66%. There are not more than 3-400 Romanian rough sleepers in the UK for a population of some 300.000 Romanians, that’s 0,13%. There are supposedly some 4000 UK-ers in Romania, of whom at least some dozens are pedophile, that’s 1%. How about a documentary on British immigrants in Romania presenting a 66% sample of pedophiles !?

    Feeling outraged by this nazi-like propaganda film is not snobbery. Every honest person, not only Romanian, should feel this way.

    At least Borat was a weird comedy, but here we have anything but Borat-like shots presented as general reality of Romania: a horse and cart trundling into view across a post-apocalyptic looking street, a bare chested child playing with a pickaxe, an aurolac sniffing a bag of paint stripper.
    Occasionally, I visited your site and I always hold you for a decent person with sound, commonsensical views. Now, I had to completely reconsider this. I am very disappointed.

    As for me, I’m considering starting a campaign for a proportional reciprocity as to the Britons. Tit for tat, as you use to say. This continuous slander campaign against Romanians, which reached a more manipulative efficacy with this film, causes immense damages to the Romanian expats in Britain, on the labour and housing market, in the society, in interpersonal intercourse, humiliates them and poisons their lives in Britain. It is but moral, legitimate and logical that Britons in Romania have the same treatment as Romanians in Britain. I think it is a very good and seminal idea and I’m working on it, to be publicised and implemented.

    • This is a spoof, no? You can’t be for real.

      In case you are: Why would I care what kind of programme is made about English people in Romania? Make a programme about English paedos if you like: as you quite rightly suggest, there are plenty to choose from I imagine. I really wouldn’t give a shit: why should I?

      And can I remind you that the people in the film you describe as ‘desperate and miserable’ are indeed hard working and dynamic. Far more so than the gormless, racist Brits portrayed in episode two.

      Why do you have a problem with that? Snobbery, I feel, plays a part. You simply do not want to be identified with these people, whereas I – as a fellow immigrant – would be happy to stand with them.

      Where’s the prejudice now?

      • florin

        good one

      • Rasvan Lalu

        “You simply do not want to be identified with these people,”

        This is naïve and simplistic a speculation, forged just because it is convenient to you. You’re attributing me deep personal reasons (fear of being identified with these poor fellows !) without even knowing anything about me: cheap psychology, Friday-night-pub-psychology.

        “whereas I – as a fellow immigrant – would be happy to stand with them”

        I deem this as a hypocritical and demagogical claim, made just for the sake of the argument.
        In the real life you’d never be happy to stand with those shown in the film.

        Nevertheless, I agree that you’d stand with your fellow Romanians immigrants in Britain: IT-experts, building workers, doctors, nurses, fruit pluckers, cleaners and every other person with so much courage, initiative and determination to face the hardness of a life in a foreign country.

        The problem is, those shown in the film were but fabricated characters, caricatures aimed at illustrating a certain anti-immigration ideology on the back of a whole nation: the Romanians.

        The real Romanians in the UK, be they the most humble manual workers or the smartest academics, have nothing to do with the weird figures presented in this propaganda garbage.

        This is the core of my critic and not what you are attributing to me out of intellectual and moral ease and frivolity.

      • Mr Rearguard

        I’m a bit late with my reply. ” Make a programme about English paedos if you like”…………………………..You’ll have to wait till around August when the only English/German paedophile tips up in Romania, Prince Charles!

    • Anon

      Yea Rasvan mate, I don’t get it? The show makes the Romanians who are over in the UK look like hard working, decent folks who are trying their damn best to make a difference to UK society. It does a lot to combat the UKIP style image of immigrants coming over to steal, take our jobs, take our women, live off benefits and make our house prices go down while speaking nothing but ‘foreign’.

      I do agree with the overuse of ‘Borat-like shots’ though; TV shows never show the ‘modern’ parts of Romania.

      Would you mind clarifying your objection to the show?

      • Rasvan Lalu

        Anonimous, firstly, I have to present you my excuses, since while I’m basking under my real name, you seem constraint to creep under anonymity. Sincerely, sorry for this.

        Now, since you think that this production “does a lot to combat the UKIP style image” while I’m deeming that “These series fit so perfectly with the ideology of UKIP, that it seems as if UKIP would have paid for the production.” our views are so antithetic, that any tentative of dialogue appears superfluous.

        This film looked for the most marginal and desperate people it could find in order to illustrate the image your media and politics had forged about the Romanians: backwarded, primitive third-world (sub-) humans coming from a backwarded, third-world and desperate background to seek some relief and salvation from the hell which is Romania.

        In doing so, the production sought psychic fragile people (Alex, the nurse), very poor and desperate persons (Sandu from Baia Mare with 14 children, the Chaplin guy).

        Everyone of these characters was paid for acting in this film, respectively, actively pushed to do certain things: Sandu and the nurse travelled to the UK just because they were told so by the Channel4 team, (there are reports in the Romanian media) the Chaplin–guy let his teeth to be repaired, just because this was a part of the script, the young Gypsy in London who screamed “Steal everything, just steal, steal, steal !” played a role, the Romanian narrator recited a script text.

        Not a single second of this documentary is authentic, everything is set up according to a script aimed at showing Romanians exactly as UKIP want them being: a bunch of marginals and criminals.

        Probably, you find this propaganda crap commendable, because you too share this opinion about the standard Romanians and you found the film showing, in spite of all this, some humanity of these “sub-humans”.

        What this disgusting piece of propaganda crap learned me is, that even the last desperate Gypsy from our country is more dignified and respectable than the sub-human caricatures depicted in this fiction.

        • Anon

          Hi Rasvan,
          Firstly, I remain as ‘anon’ simply because I prefer to keep internet and real life as separate as possible.

          I do see your point in a way, yes the documentary leaves out Romanians who are doing pretty well for themselves and I can understand why that is frustrating for you. I loved my time in Romania and don’t think any less of the people there than I do of myself.
          We shall have to agree to disagree as to if this is falling into the hands of UKIP mentality though…I think it does a lot to combat the idea that Romanians only want to come and take take take take from the UK.

          As for the editing, you will get no argument from me. As I said previously in the ‘part 1’ post, ‘reality’ TV does nothing but tell the narrative the producers want to tell
          Charlie Brooker did a good piece on this which you may find interesting

          Enjoy your weekend

          • Cluj

            Hi Rasvan

            anon is a paedophile. That’s why he likes to try and stay anominous on the internet.

          • Anon

            Hi Roger! Thought you said you were not going to post here anymore after your little meltdown.
            Blood pressure doing ok now?

          • Anon

            Wait, you stay anonymous on the internet too!
            Here’s something to ponder.
            Just because YOU are a pedophile and like to stay anonymous on the internet, it doesn’t mean that everyone else who wants to stay anonymous on the internet is a pedophile.
            Stop projecting your mental illnesses onto other people. And while you’re at it, leave the kids alone. That stuff is just wrong.

          • Cluj

            One doth protest too much me thinks ^^^^^^^^^^^

          • Anon

            Nice meltdown Woger. I think I said you wouldn’t last longer than 2 weeks before returning, guess I was right.
            You get angry over words on the Internet. HAHAHAHA
            Now remember, you should stay away from children, you’re dangerous.

          • Cluj

            Hook lline and sinker and flapping about in my keepnet.

            This really is too easy. Fools always take the bait.

          • Anon

            Whatever. Keep on dancing. The only person you convince of your own superiority is yourself.
            Nice meltdown btw.

          • Cluj

            I’ve caught a big one here ^^

  • florin

    it was funny still curious about next

  • Fred

    Can’t wait to watch episode 2!

    I have a friend who had a similar problem (as the nurse) when he left Romania to work on a farm for the summer. The job he got was pretty much what was advertised, but to this day he has not been paid.

    • Episode 2 is the one above