Your free holiday

Watchdog is a factual programme, presented by Nicky Campbell and … , and is showing every Wednesday on BBC1. Watchdog deals with public complaints, such as ‘builders’ or ‘plumbers’, later appearing to be thieves. Also, insurance companies, and even holiday companies. Viewers write to the show, email or call them, to express their emotions about the previous episodes, or even make a complaint. Most episodes of Watchdog are very similar to each other, by using talking heads, experts and authoritative voices, on the spot reports, interviews, and dramatical reconstruction.

The particular episode that I chose also contains the above elements. I chose to talk about the “free” holiday- extract of the programme from 13th November 2002. Watchdog had received many complaints from the viewers across the country about a ‘free holiday’, offered by a timeshare company. The Watchdog crew looked into the matter more closely… they interviewed the three families that received the same offer.

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One family didn’t even stay until the end of the presentation, after they found out that they were not entitled to a ‘free’ holiday, unless they bought a timeshare at the cost of ?8000, which there was no way they could afford. Another family weren’t happy either. Although they stayed through the presentation, and asked the company several times, whether there was anything else to pay apart from the ? 39. 49 handling charge, the answer to which was NO, they decided to cancel. Apparently, they had to pay additional ? 60 airport tax, and additional ? 90 if they wanted to fly from their 1st choice airport. And if they do cancel, they have to pay ? 279 cancellation charge per person.

The third family did get their holiday, eventually, after 12 months’ waiting, and paying all the charges. They flew from their 1st choice airport, to their 2nd choice destination. Watchdog invited the representative for the company, to discuss the problem. They also went to the address of the company and took a secret shot through the window. Another person interviewed was a former employee, talking about his time with the company. The ‘talking heads’ are the families interviewed, as well as the representative for the timeshare company. The representative from … company is also.

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