|Thank you for your e-mail to Terri Parsons. She has passed it to me to respond with some more specific answers to the questions you raise.
The 'Eye' was not, as the Observer and other papers since have wronglysuggested, a billboard style advertisement, since it was visible only tothe helicopter filming it. The site used was at the very top of the hill and the shot was taken for an indent in the Big Brother programme.
In this respect, we regarded the use of the site in the same way as theuse of any of our properties as a film location - from areas ofSnowdonia for 'Tomb Raider 2' to Lacock Abbey for 'Harry Potter'. Strict guidelines apply to this and we would never allow any activity that would harm either an historic house or the environment in our care.
Our involvement in the Channel 4 Big Brother art project was a well considered decision and we were not seeking to justify it by mentioning other historic sites. This was not 'band wagon' behaviour; we genuinely saw it as an opportunity to bring the site to a new audience and do not think that we will have jeopardised its safety as a result of its exposure. It is, arguably, as a result of misleading newspaper articles that some might perceive the vandalism of our sites as a possibility.
Instead of the low key filming and removal of the image, it now seems as though we allowed this to go ahead and have even left it up there to advertise Big Brother, which of course, is not the case. The site was thoroughly tested and the paste was completely organic. The area used is open to grazing and to walkers or people wanting to picnic near The Horse, so there would not have been any extraordinary damage to the site or its wildlife.
With regard to the money earned by filming on site, I do not think that £2,000 can be considered a 'paltry sum'. The White Horse, like all our countryside sites, is obviously free to the public but still requires maintenance. This money will be spent on maintaining The Horse and the surrounding area. The subject of funding also brings me to your next point, which is that we only have a certain amount of money available for marketing. While we make very good use of this, it only stretches so far and this promotion, which we were paid for, was thought to be beneficial.
I am sorry if you felt offended that your original e-mail was not responded to in detail. We have limited resources and thought it best to give a comprehensive explanation as soon as possible, rather than wait until we had sufficient information to respond in full.
I understand that you have doubts over our judgement on this matter but hope that I have provided you with some more answers. We are monitoring response to recent articles; so be assured that your views have been noted.
Posted by treaclechops
4th September 2003ce
treaclechops's TMA Blog
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