Welcome: Immigrant-TV

Formats about immigration slowly fill the tv-screens. It seems the follow-up of the ‘emigration tv-trend’ (started in 2005) such as the Dutch formats Ik vertrek (Ned.1, 2005) and Grenzeloos verliefd (Net5, 2010), e.g. the UK formats Living in the sun (BBC, 2005) and New life down under (C4, 2005), the German Die Auswanderer (Kabel1, 2007) and Goodbye Deutschland (VOX, 2007) and the Scandinavian formats Allt for Norge (TVNorge, 2010) and Allt för Sverige (SVT1, 2011).
The immigration formats deal with people who have left their own country to build up a new life in another country, even refugees. It’s also an actual social issue.
One year after the start of Kabel1 format Die Auswanderer (The emigrants) in 2008 a spin-off was launched. Die Rückwanderer (The returnees) tells stories of German families who came back to Germany. Some of them return after a successful 15 years, some after 1 year because it failed to build their new life.

In The Netherlands pubcaster KRO (beside commercial channel Net5) picked-up the emigration/ immigration theme. In 2011 KRO launched the human-interest program Liefs uit (Love from) in which presenter Yvon Jaspers interviewed multi-cultural couples (one of which comes from Holland) during their first year living together in Holland: where the question was will the couple manage to build up a good life and get the immigrant used to Dutch habits? August 2013 KRO announced to launch a dating show for emigrants: Liever uit Nederland (Preferable from Holland) in which Dutch emigrated persons who are still single in the new country, are looking for a Dutch native living in Holland. Just like in KRO’s Boer zoekt vrouw (Farmer looking for a wife) the candidate is looking for a partner to start a relationship with, and who also is willing to move.

In Sweden SVT2 aired in 2013 the docu-soap Svenska till varje pris (Swedish at any price) in which 8 immigrants are followed during a special civic integration course of 8 weeks in a luxury villa. They are coached by professionals and well-known Swedes. The viewers gain insights about their background and new life in Sweden. Visitors of the program website can also learn the Swedish language (Video Clip Svenska till varje pris ). An informative and friendly program, but a little too seriously.

In Australia tv-producers made it more forceful. In 2013 SBS transmitted the second series of the reality format Go back to where you came from, that is about immigrants, who have fled their country. In 3 episodes 6 Australian celebrities make the trip immigrants have had to make to arrive in a safe country as Australia (of course without any money, passport or mobile phone). Through dangerous roads, cities and war zones they arrive in a refugee camp in Africa, an UN Peacekeepers camp in Afghanistan and with the help of people’s smugglers they arrive in a detention center in Christmas Island Australia. The first program series (2011) 6 ordinary candidates (with a clear opinion about immigration in their country) made such a same trip. Go back to where you came from (Video Clip Go back to where you came from ) is re-living at its best, but at the same time to gain a better understanding of the immigrant’s situation.
Agnes Dijker
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