Greetings and welcome to Thursdays television review and this week I have another documentary from the BBC this week it’s a fly on the wall documentary about bookmakers in the town of Huddersfield. Following on from the BBC documentary ‘The Bank a matter of life and debt‘ which was also filmed in Huddersfield this show features as you might expect the staff and customers from a Coral Bookmakers Kirkgate shop Huddersfield plus online customers and staff at Coral’s London Headquarters. This is an identikit copy of the Bank documentary and given that the BBC produced both shows this isn’t surprising, the formulaic approach certainly helps keeps costs down in these times of austerity. The shop manager a friendly chap called Tony seemed to enjoy his work and took great pride in his shop being the best in town, with simple things like wiping down the touch screens so there are no visible finger marks on the screen was a nice touch and goes to show the customer service skills of Tony and his team. Once again though the real interest is the punters(customers) who’s colourful lives and gambling issues make the show what it is.
Having been a deputy manager for a rival firm(Ladbrokes) this really brought back some memories and was fascinating to see how the bookmaking world has changed from my day, no more pen and paper calculations for bets and takings all done on a machine. With segments from the online team at corals head office we see how the odds are made and changed based on a single newspaper article in this instance for betting on Strictly come dancing. We also saw the darker side of gambling from a chap on benefits who goes into 11/12 bookies and plays the roulette machines sometimes leaving himself with only £4 to live on for two weeks, to the online team refusing to take peoples bets as they are consistent winners. Despite this shows formulaic production methods it is still well made and does for me at least provide an insight into an industry I once worked in and still have a fondness for. I am looking forward to see the later episodes with on track betting and hope they cover some of the TOTE bookies as well as Coral, I also hope we get to see deeper into the online side as this wasn’t around in my day and is something I am interested to see. So in conclusion this simplistic yet entertaining look into the world of bookies is well worth a watch if only to see the punters and staff interaction plus it should help anyone concerned with the prevalence of bookies in our high street. Until next time I’m off to back a nag in the 3:20 at Kempton Park.