A month of events and special series of TV shows aims to change the perception of Gypsies in Wales, and there’s not a wedding – big, fat or otherwise – in sight. Nathan Bevan investigates
From the gaudy, oversized wedding dresses festooned with fairy lights, bare-knuckle boxing and pre-teen girls dirty dancing in full make-up, My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding succeeded in whipping up national tabloid scandal from the minute the credits rolled on its very first episode.
And the only thing bigger than the frock horrors and culture shocks supplied by that notorious Channel 4 series was its viewing figures.
For millions, this was probably the only image they had of those “secretive, marginalised and little-understood communities” – as the broadcaster’s press bumf put it – that exist on the periphery of the perceived social norm.
But it’s one that’s far removed from the romanticised tales of Romanis like Abram Wood, the so-called ‘King of the Gypsies’, who supposedly introduced the fiddle to Wales in the early 18th century and whose descendents played in the courts of European royalty.