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Nick Conrad: ‘Why is Norwich always the butt of jokes?’

19:30 03 February 2016

The City of Norwich viewed from the River Wensum. Cow Tower. Picture: Denise Bradley

The City of Norwich viewed from the River Wensum. Cow Tower. Picture: Denise Bradley

copyright: Archant 2014

We love our “fine” city… but Norwich must be marketed as the Gateway to Norfolk.

Last week I ended up talking on BBC Radio Devon, promoting our fine county. My producer took a call from our Exeter-based studio 
asking if I was available to extol the virtues of Norfolk on their afternoon show.

The reason? A new air route linking east with west had just been announced. Their problem – they couldn’t see why anyone would want to fly to Norwich!

Marketing our county to Devonians is like selling ice to the Eskimos.

Whatever we’ve got, they’ve got – apart from a Premier League football team. Presenting the show was Bill Buckley, remember him from ‘That’s Life’?

I know Bill well; we worked together for many years on LBC Radio and I bet his tongue was firmly in his cheek when inviting me onto his show. Why is it that Norwich always seems to be the butt of the joke?

There are lots of reasons for holidaymakers to visit us.

Norfolk is the most fantastically diverse destination for a getaway. But we need to market the county cleverly.

Norwich as a brand is far less alluring than Norfolk. The county, with royal connections, conjures up an image of a peaceful backwater with a unique charm!

We should capitalise on this. A simple marketing ploy – all routes into Norwich should be branded The Gateway to the Countryside & Coast: Norfolk. The Gateway to Norwich just sounds like something on a heritage trail.

“So what’s worth seeing in Norwich?” asked Bill, starting the interview.

After rolling off the usual tourist attractions of the city, I progressed onto the county as a whole.

Well…the interview was scheduled to run for five minutes, however, I was still gassing a quarter of an hour later! On a canter I’d circumnavigated the coast from King’s Lynn to Gorleston, visited Sandringham, trundled through Thetford Forest before ending up on The Norfolk Broads. Quite exhausted, Bill said, “I wish I hadn’t asked you on”

“I haven’t even started yet” I replied.

19 comments

  • Maybe it's because we keep ourselves to ourselves. Not sure we can blame the transport system it doesnt stop those foreigners gettin to north norfolk.

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    Jonno65

    Thursday, February 4, 2016

  • I think Conrad means Yarmouth and his best mate Brandon Lewis.

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    John L Norton

    Thursday, February 4, 2016

  • getting to Norfolk via public transport links is expensive, not everyone can fly here. We have a problem with the portrayal of Norfolk and Norwich in general, how it is marketed by our very own stalwarts. To raise the prejudices of the past to start a conversion is just one point. Norfolk has so much more to offer than the coastline and the Broads, it has the 'biggest sky's and is a gods sent for photographers, bird watchers and cyclists. We have the A1 North sea cycle path coming through our beautiful county and I can merely smile at the uninformed inconsequential jibes dealt out by other broadcasters. Nowhere is perfect, but Norfolk's coming close, why else would people think that Norwich is one the happiest places to go to. Please lets not make this an ad campaign for extra signs which will only keep this flippancy going, we don't need extra signs.

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Thursday, February 4, 2016

  • Could it be because we have had a labour run council for as long as I can remember and a joke of an MP in Norwich South.

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    blister

    Thursday, February 4, 2016

  • Nick, I'm sure your colleague Alan Partridge could throw more 'loight' on the issue?

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    One Horse Town

    Thursday, February 4, 2016

  • ‘Why is Norwich always the butt of jokes?’ The accent is a good starting point.

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    not-a-carrot-cruncher

    Thursday, February 4, 2016

  • Only Me - Has coastal erosion meant that Norwich now has a shoreline?

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    DWW25

    Thursday, February 4, 2016

  • After seeing their defence on Tuesday I'm not surprised. COYS!

    20160202_194547

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    DWW25

    Thursday, February 4, 2016

  • Well said PaulH - I couldn't agree more. Only me - come down off your high horse before you fall off. Can someone tell me why we have to have 'ads' in the middle of news items? It's like playing 'spot the news item!'

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    biglingers

    Thursday, February 4, 2016

  • Let's face it,Norwich and Norfolk is a nice place to live, with less of the social and crime problems that seem to plague more densely populated places! In a way our clapped out transport systems have a certain charm about them, and "normal for norfolk" is a gentle jibe at our rural way of life! I just wish local government would stop inflicting hair brained and often unnecessary road schemes on the place,because I liked Norwich as it was,and fortunately do not have to negotiate my way round it by car on a daily basis!

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    Harry Rabinowitz

    Thursday, February 4, 2016

  • unfortunately a lot of the reason is due to the awful transport links. with the exception of the A11 which leads (surprise surprise!) to london, getting in or out of norwich is a nightmare. an airport flying to exeter, if you want to fly anywhere half decent you have to stop off in another country. the rail connections are abysmal, and the roads!, how many other counties have absolutely no motorway?!. it has led to an `insular` often inward looking attitude amongst much of the populace.plus when you surround the only decent sized urban area in the county with small, albeit often charming towns, seperated by swathes of green fields, and many of those towns don`t exactly `set the pulses racing`!. it doesn`t take much imagination to see why!. (btw i love norfolk, but can see why `outsiders` more used to the ways of the 21st century see it like this. every country in the world has somewhere that the rest of the country laughs at, here it just happens to be norfolk!)

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    blueboy

    Thursday, February 4, 2016

  • Never ceases to surprise me how self-delusional people like Honest Injun are. Empty? The city teems with people at all times every day and the new traffic schemes are attracting more people in, not fewer. Twisting facts to suits your twisted views only fool yourself, get out of your car and look, then you'll see.

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    Only Me

    Thursday, February 4, 2016

  • I think Bert Bremner at City Hall is brilliant, but then I am biased!!

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    Bert Bremner

    Thursday, February 4, 2016

  • .....perhaps we like it that way!....You can tell a fool the moment he\she opens their mouth!....we keep our thoughts to ourselves.. apart from me....I mean fancy wasting time and money to come to Norwich...when you can have the delights of overcrowded cities.. noise pollution and foul smells in other counties....If I had my way, there would be a' Wall of China' built alongside the Ouse and the Waverney! ..and gates on all the major roads!.....

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    Stew Pydsodd

    Wednesday, February 3, 2016

  • Must be something to do with a city centre that appears empty except for a few pedestrians, cycles and buses, with ever decreasing car access via oddly designed road layouts which visitors find difficult to comprehend........ It certainly doesn't appear lively - more reputedly sleepy. Surely all of that money could've been spent more usefully on welfare schemes and the like, rather than on schemes that give the place the wrong kind of reputation thus discouraging visitors.

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    Honest Injun

    Wednesday, February 3, 2016

  • Butt of jokes our bloody Council for a start

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    PaulH

    Wednesday, February 3, 2016

  • Why is Norwich always the butt of jokes?’ Nothing to do with City's recent plunge towards relegation then?

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    peter waller

    Wednesday, February 3, 2016

  • There's as piece on the Guardian website today praising Norfolk's beaches.

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    Only Me

    Wednesday, February 3, 2016

  • As long as you did not mention Bert at City Hall and Sister Wendy and George and Joycey at County Hall you done well boyo.

    Report this comment

    Nakita Ponnly

    Wednesday, February 3, 2016

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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