Big Fat Gypsy Weddings

Big Fat Gypsy Weddings
Big Fat Gypsy Weddings
Big Fat Gypsy Weddings.png
Genre Documentary
Directed by Morag Tinto
Country of origin United Kingdom
Language(s) English
No. of seasons 3
No. of episodes 7
Executive producer(s) Jes Wilkins
Producer(s) Jenny Popplewell
Editor(s) George Taylor
Running time 49 minutes
Production company(s) Firecracker Films
Original channel Channel 4
Original run 18 February 2010 (2010-02-18) – Present
External links
Production website

Big Fat Gypsy Weddings is a British documentary series produced by Firecracker Films for Channel 4, looking at the world of gypsies and travellers in Britain today. First broadcast in February 2010 as a one-off called My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding, and part of the Cutting Edge series, a second series of 5 episodes was commissioned and began in January 2011.[1]



The show has been criticized by the Irish Traveller & British Gypsy/Traveller communities for misrepresenting them.[2][3] Jane Jackson, deputy chief executive of the Rural Media Company, a charity which publishes the Travellers' Times said:

It's posing as a documentary, the voiceover is saying we're going to let you into the secrets of the traveller community – and it [sic] just not true. It might be true of the particular families in front of the camera, but it's not generally true. They're made to look totally feckless, not really to be taken seriously as an ethnic group[4]

Jes Wilkins, the executive producer said that the vast majority of the participants in the show are happy with their on-screen portrayal. Wilkins said:

The problem has been with the media response, particularly from the tabloid press. It's become one of the big cultural phenomena of this part of the year and people are looking for something to write about it, something provocative. Some [sic] these articles have upset our contributors which has been disappointing[4]

Others from the Traveller and Gypsy communities question the show's title. Billy Welch, a spokesman for Romani Gypsies said:

While Channel 4 should be praised for at least differentiating between Irish Travellers and Romani Gypsies, the first three episodes have in fact focused exclusively on Irish Travellers and their traditions: They called the show Big Fat Gypsy Wedding and you've yet to see a Romani Gypsy in it[4]

During the episode No Place Like Home, Big Fat Gypsy Weddings had 4 of the top 10 trending topics worldwide on social networking website Twitter.[5]

Television producer Simon Cowell expressed interest in making a US version of the show in February 2011.[6] In June 2011, TLC rebroadcast the show and was filming a U.S. version of the show. [7]


Big Fat Gypsy Weddings opened in 2011. The second episode got 7.4m viewers at its peak, Channel 4's highest ratings since Big Brother in 2008.[8] The consolidated figures for the series' second episode were 8.7 million, making it Channel 4's eighth highest-rating programme ever.[4] The final episode was watched by 6.5 million viewers, easily beating the 2011 BRIT Awards which had an average viewership of 4.8 million.[9]


The episode No Place Like Home caused controversy after it showed young girls provocatively dancing and wearing full make-up.[10]


At the Cultural Diversity Awards 2010 broadcast readers voted My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding the ‘Most Groundbreaking Show’ beating The Sex Education Show: Am I Normal? and Cast Offs.[11]


Series 1

# Title Original airdate Ratings
1.1 "My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding" 18 February 2010 (2010-02-18) 5,567,000
813,000 (+1)[13]
Looks at the milestones in a Gypsy girl's life leading to the biggest day of all - her wedding. From first Holy Communion (described as a 'dress rehearsal for her wedding day') to the strict rules of courtship, a hen night and, of course, the spectacular wedding itself, this episode examines the traditions and rules followed by Gypsy and traveller girls in Britain today.[12] 

Series 2

# Title Original airdate Ratings
2.1 "Born to Be Wed" 18 January 2011 (2011-01-18) 7,280,000
958,000 (+1)[13]
Looks at the milestones in a Gypsy girl's life leading to the biggest day of all - her wedding. From first Holy Communion (described as a 'dress rehearsal for her wedding day') to the strict rules of courtship, a hen night and, of course, the spectacular wedding itself, this episode examines the traditions and rules followed by Gypsy and traveller girls in Britain today.[14] 
2.2 "No Place Like Home" 25 January 2011 (2011-01-25) 7,467,000
1,255,000 (+1)[13]
Romany Gypsy Pat faces criticism for marrying a non-gypsy. But his bride Sam is determined to prove her Gypsy girl credentials with a 14-stone wedding dress that lights up in the dark. With 21 underskirts and moving diamante butterflies, it weighs more than the bride's father.[15] 
2.3 "Desperate Housewives" 1 February 2011 (2011-02-01) 8,032,000
1,301,000 (+1)[13]
A look beyond the enormous wedding dresses, sequins and tiaras to unveil the lot of a Gypsy woman. It's not all just about having blingtastic nuptials. With literacy and education largely deemed unnecessary and domestic abuse startlingly common, the contrast between the daily life of a gypsy girl and the glitz and glamour of their wedding day is stark.[16] 
2.4 "Boys Will Be Boys" 8 February 2011 (2011-02-08) 8,804,000
906,000 (+1)[13]
An insight into the lives of Britain's traveller men, providing a contrast with the experiences of their wives and daughters. The programme introduces the patriarch of a Salford community,[17] who explains the role men play in his culture, and offers views of traditional gypsy christenings and weddings from a male perspective. An independent girl also prepares to reveal her Romany identity to her employer before she leaves work to get married.[18] 
2.5 "Bride & Prejudice" 15 February 2011 (2011-02-15) 8,048,000
1,193,000 (+1)[13]
The final film in the series uncovers the prejudice against the travelling community in Britain today. But discrimination is nothing new to the travellers and their seclusion from mainstream society seems to be their only defence. Dressmaker Thelma has to make a dress for a bride who won't even tell her when the wedding is for fear the venue finds out she's a traveller and cancels the booking.[19] 

Series 3

# Title Original airdate Ratings
1 "Big Fat Royal Gypsy Weddings" 29 April 2011 4,561,000
760,000 (+1)[13]
Royal wedding special[20] 

Christmas Special

A Christmas special has been confirmed for December 2011.[21]

Series 4/5

A fourth/fifth series is in the making and should air in mid 2012.


  1. ^ Orange: MBFGW series report
  2. ^ "Big fat gypsy reaction: Warwickshire travellers' views". BBC. 2011-02-01. Retrieved 2011-02-08. 
  3. ^ "Gypsy weddings show has outraged us’ - traveller". Peterlee Mail. 2011-02-06. Retrieved 2011-02-08. 
  4. ^ a b c d "Channel 4's big fat Gypsy ratings winner". The Guardian. 2011-02-07. Retrieved 2011-02-08. 
  5. ^ "BIG FAT BUZZ". Firecracker Films. Retrieved 2011-02-08. 
  6. ^ Sarah Fitzmaurice (2011-2-26). "My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding: Simon Cowell planning to take hit show to U.S.". The Daily Mail. Retrieved 2011-2-26. 
  7. ^ "Big Fat Disgrace: A Review Of TLC's Wildly Misleading ‘My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding’".,1. 
  8. ^ "My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding: Why is it a hit?". BBC. 2011-02-01. Retrieved 2011-02-08. 
  9. ^ Deans, Jason (16 February 2011). "Big Fat Gypsy Weddings drowns out Brits". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 September 2011. 
  10. ^ "Big Fat Gypsy Weddings under fire for showing eight-year-olds 'pole dancing'". 2011-01-26. Retrieved 2011-02-08. 
  11. ^ "MY BIG FAT GYPSY WEDDING – MOST GROUNDBREAKING PROGRAMME 2010". Firecracker Films. Retrieved 2011-02-08. 
  12. ^ Series 1 | My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding at
  13. ^ a b c d e f g "BARB". BARB. Retrieved 2011-02-08. 
  14. ^ Series 2 | Born to Be Wed at
  15. ^ Series 2 | No Place Like Home at
  16. ^ Series 2 | Desperate Housewives at
  17. ^ 53°29′47″N 2°17′32″W / 53.4964582°N 2.2920871°W / 53.4964582; -2.2920871
  18. ^ Series 2 | Boys Will Be Boys at
  19. ^ Series 2 | Bride & Prejudice at
  20. ^ My Big Fat Royal Gypsy Wedding at
  21. ^ "Big Fat Gypsy Weddings 'to compete with the Queen's Xmas speech'". Retrieved April 01, 2011. 

External links

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