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Doncaster Features: Doncaster Profile in Guardian

Pass notes

No 2,360


Thursday July 17, 2003
The Guardian

Are you about to tell me it's grim up north? Not at all.
But it is, isn't it? Not a bit of it.

But what about all those dark satanic mills and stuff? By 'eck, lad, that's so 20th-century. Doncaster has moved on. It's now "the riviera of the north", according to Radio 4's Today programme.

Can you run the definition of riviera by me? Noun, a warm, coastal district reminiscent of the Riviera in France and Italy on the Mediterranean sea.

But Doncaster is 40 miles from the coast. A mere technicality. "We've always been known as sunny Doncaster," says Mick May from the local market traders association. One market stall has now taken to selling Doncaster rock, the better to create that seaside ambience.

Which is otherwise supplied by... "A racecourse, a market, lots of parks," May told the BBC. "The list goes on and on for ever - and includes such wonders as the Sandtoft Trolleybus Museum, home of Britain's largest collection of trolleybuses."

Is Doncaster full of scantily-clad dolly birds like the French Riviera? Diana Rigg is a native of the city. And there's Britain's premier women's football team, the Doncaster Belles.

Does it ooze Tinseltown glamour, like Cannes? Open All Hours was filmed there.

And will I keep tripping over A-list celebs? Jeremy Clarkson's a local.

That's it. I'm getting my bucket and spade. Could come in handy. There are terrible roadworks right now on the nearby M1.

Other unlikely Yorkshire reinventions: Barnsley is being redesigned as a Tuscan walled village. Rotherham's Magna Centre won Britain's major architecture award. And they're calling Pontefract "the Copacabana of the West Riding".

Really? OK, I made that last one up.

Do say: "Doncaster is so bracing."

Don't say: "Where's the beach?"

Not to be confused with: San Remo, St Tropez, Whitby.

From the Guardian

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