How funny is Ipswich?

STOP taking the Ips!That's our message today to comedians who seem to think that our home town is funny and ripe for an easy laugh.Channel Four's latest hit television show Space Cadets is the latest to make very frequent references to Ipswich.

STOP taking the Ips!

That's our message today to comedians who seem to think that our home town is funny and ripe for an easy laugh.

Channel Four's latest hit television show Space Cadets is the latest to make very frequent references to Ipswich.

Show host Johnny Vaughan keeps telling the television audience that the cadets aren't in Russia.

“They're at an old airbase on the edge of Ipswich,” he says regularly.

Local people seem divided on whether the show is showing the area up in a good or bad light - whether the show is laughing at us (as well as the cadets) or with us.

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Some feel that it is putting the area on the map - that there's no such thing as bad publicity and no one is actually saying anything rude about the area.

Others feel that there's an implication that being on the edge of Ipswich is so remote that you might be in the middle of Russia.

There have also been suggestions that the Ipswich references are supposed to contrast high-tech tech rocket science with straw-chewing yokels.

Space Cadets is not the first show to make comic references to Ipswich. The town has been the butt of humour for many years - although whether it is any more of a target than anywhere else is less clear.

Back in the early 1990s Victor Lewis Smith made rude comments about Ipswich - and when we had a go back he threatened us with a libel writ!

A few years later comedian Jack Dee got in a spat with our columnist Matthew Tacket after making a reference to the area on his show.

This bubbled up for weeks until eventually Matthew got an invite on to the show and was allowed to be “shot” by the dour comic.

In fact Matthew himself was unavailable and our then assistant editor Russell Cook stepped into his shoes to bite the bullet.

Ipswich council leader Liz Harsant isn't too happy about all the jokey references to a town she's very proud of - but accepts that people need to accept them with a sense of humour.

She said: “Ipswich is a very fast-expanding town and isn't exactly remote. We're only an hour from Liverpool Street station after all.

“But I think we have an ability to laugh at ourselves - that's how the Tractor Boys label at the football club began.”

Ipswich MP Chris Mole said he had not heard any of his parliamentary colleagues making jokes at the town's expense.

“But I don't think they realise what we have here - when the select committee came to look at the Waterfront they were really impressed by the changes over the last 20 years.”

But Ipswich isn't the only place to be the butt of jokes - Terry Wogan has made jokey references to Felixstowe which have upset residents there.

And Norwich has suffered from several series of Alan Partridge taking the mickey out of “Radio Norwich.”

This prompted a Norwich councillor to blame the BBC's creation for robbing the city of its chance to be the European City of Culture.

Now that really is worrying about your image!

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