Trevor McDonald's disgraceful TV programme

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04 Jun 2007 00:00 by letissier123 Star rating in North of England. 15 posts Send private message

Trevor McDonald's appalling report on the state of the property market was a disgrace to journalism. It was bigoted, biased, inaccurate and full of lies as it set out on its pre-determined plan to sensationalise the situation without any regard to the facts.

I'm not disputing that the property market in Spain has cooled but there were many things about the programme that iritated me. I'll start with the interview with an estate agent in Murcia called Heather Ward, who claimed, through misty eyes, that she had sold only one property in the last six months, a fact that is hardly surprising considering her apparent total lack of knowledge of the area she was filmed in.

The lady in question was pictured near an awesome town called Calasparra on a development where I bought a villa 15 months ago. The builder is one of the best in Spain and this is a small, unique development which releases just 20 properties a year. Here is a list of the laughable errors she managed to spectacularly make in her 45-second interview.

'Here we see a new property that has never been sold' - WRONG: The villa she referred to was almost certainly on Phase one of the development and the builders have a policy that they would not begin building the next phase until all the villas have been sold. They are on phase six now, but more of that later.

'Behind there, they are still building all the brand new ones and they are not selling. They are stood empty.' WRONG:  She is referring to phase five, where I bought a property in 2006. If memory serves that phase sold out in eight weeks. Yes, most of them are empty because they have only been completed (on time) within the last four weeks.

'The minute somebody seems to get in these properties, within months, they are selling and wanting to be out.' WRONG: I have spent several weeks on the development and have made many friends there, perhaps from a dozen different properties and they are all blissfully happy with their villas which are built to the highest specication. I can specifically recall one lady, who has lived there for more than a year, who described the way of life, the development and the town of Calsaparra as 'magical.' Yes, there are properties for sale but not in particularly high numbers.

You should know that all the information I have given is not hearsay or gossip. I learned everything directly from the builder.

It is ironic that the 'expert' estate agent made all these pathetic and inaccurate claims, standing on a piece of high ground which is within 20 yards of the site office which contains, as well as helpful and knowleable staff, a large map of the development with coloured sections depicting properties that have been sold. Perhaps the reporter Jonathan Maitlin could not spare the time to bother to check the facts.

One final example of the bigoted, biased journalism was the shot of the development the viewers saw as the commentator droned on about bad investments. The villas do not include the erection of swimming pools and most owners are installing their own using the services of local builders. Many of the purchasers of villas from the early phases are now fully installed with pools with the avenues completed and looking picturesque, showing the quality craftsmanshift of the builders but, of course, this would not help the programme makers who were determind to depict the development in its worst light. So what did they do? They obviously scoured the development for the latest phase where several pools are being installed, giving the viewer the false impression that the site was unfinished and the builders nowhere to be seen. Yes, buiding is going on but the development is very beautiful and surrounded by a forest and wonderful mountains.

My final complaint is this. I have been a journalist in an award-winning newspaper for more than 20 years. If my newspaper had published a photograph of a housing development in our area, implied it was a bad investment and backed up the story with the wildly inaccurate views of a highly unsuccessful estate agent, we would have been sued for a small fortune. There are obviously a different code of ethics for television - as a newspaper journalist I have to work under strict guidelines of accuracy and fairness.

I have made an official complaint to OFCOM who regulate television programmes and await their reponse. I am sending my comments to the builder, too,  and, more importantly, to the progamme makers though I am not anticipating a response from the latter. I will keep you informed of any developments.

This message was last edited by letissier123 on 6/4/2007.

This message was last edited by letissier123 on 6/4/2007.

This message was last edited by letissier123 on 6/4/2007.

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04 Jun 2007 12:55 by georgia Star rating in Algorfa (As seen on .... 1839 posts Send private message

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Hi Mike,

I totally agree with everything you have just said.

I have sold property at Calaspara and it is far from how it was portrayed.

The agent(and i use the term loosely)did not have a clue!

I am suprised she sold the 1 house she lay claim to in the last 6 months.

I am afraid nothing came as a suprise on this programme,i know Inez Rix,the auctioneer  featured and i know she did not expect the portrayal to be so one sided.

I will not go on about this too much as i have said it all before but it would be nice if they would for once give a true picture of the market here and not manipulate the situation for their own means.

A very dissapointed



_______________________ still here after all these years!

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04 Jun 2007 13:19 by EOS Team Star rating in In Spain of course!. 4017 posts Send private message

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Mike, interesting comments.  These programs are always the same.  I chose not to watch it on Friday.

By the way, the land grab issue does not solely affect the Valencia area, we have seen cases of this around the Estepona area of the Costa del Sol, but we're trying to find out more about it as it's not so talked about.



Schools in Spain Guide | The Expat Files | Learn Spanish | Earn a living in Spain

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04 Jun 2007 13:32 by Suzie Star rating in England. 121 posts Send private message

Phew.....I was asked to be on this programme but as they only gave me 3 days notice I wasn't able to participate.  I'm now extremely glad I didn't.

The news now is that many illegal properties WILL be demolished, including some that are inhabited.  For anyone who wants info/support & to sign a Petition about the scandal=

Hope it's o.k. to post this Justin as it is not a commercial site, but one that may be able to get some results for so many of us!

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04 Jun 2007 14:13 by morerosado Star rating in Guardamar del Segura.... 6933 posts Send private message

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Just a thought ......

How about all those who are having problems or who have suffered problems putting the petition website as their signature with a short comment requesting members, or anyone looking in on EOS, to go look & maybe sign ? Sounds helpful & will reach many people.

It doesn't affect us, thankfully, as we purchased over two years ago certainly without the major problems we see mentioned in forums.











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04 Jun 2007 18:31 by Karensun Star rating in Orihuela Costa. 1476 posts Send private message

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 Hi everyone.

I've got to say that I did not watch the programme on principal. All this type of programme is based on is sensationalism..............and there have been many programmes like this about Spain.

I can only assume that the media considers the British public to have no intelligence whatsoever !! 

Of course, there are problems here, there are problems everywhere and always will be.....................some problems may be avoided and others perhaps not.  But that is what life is, whereever you are. Life is one big obstacle course and the idea is to move from A to B without causing yourself or others too much hurt.

So lets get on with it !! Let Mr. McDonald spread his rubbish, we know it's rubbish, we live here !! and if others wish to believe him..well..........they can stay in England can't they ?

  ' Do unto others as you would be done by'
         Now a non-smoker !  

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04 Jun 2007 21:51 by Roberto Star rating in Torremolinos. 4269 posts Send private message

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"There are obviously a different code of ethics for television - as a newspaper journalist I have to work under strict guidelines of accuracy and fairness."

Mike, I agree with everything you said, but with regards to this pont, I wonder if you read my rant on the Crash In Spanish Property Market thread (28th May)? I hope you don't work for the Mail on Sunday?! chit chat

This message was last edited by Roberto on 6/4/2007.



"First get your facts; then you can distort them at your leisure"

Mark Twain




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04 Jun 2007 22:27 by alex875 Star rating. 209 posts Send private message

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well said mike



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05 Jun 2007 10:19 by Chrism1620 Star rating. 96 posts Send private message


Just to give my voice of support.

How else would Trevor make his money, this is the easiest way, if it was all nicey nobody would watch it, the rest of us have to work damn hard!!!!!!!!!!!!

Its only what people like to lounge about on friday night and watch , ENTERTAINMENT thats a laugh in itself!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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05 Jun 2007 11:58 by goodstich44 Star rating in northampton. 1652 posts Send private message

Hi all

just another thumbs up for suzy's petition at

........come on everyone, let's really get this thing going, it could make a big change happen if it gathers enough steam. It has already been endorsed my Maria and many other good people who are determined to get justice where it's deserved. This is far to big a chance to miss!

If enough of us contribute, we WILL be heard.


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05 Jun 2007 12:11 by johnone Star rating in La Reserva de Marbel.... 233 posts Send private message

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Hi All

TMD struck again last night with another scaremongering program, now we shouldn't fly from Birmingham Airport as the security there is a Joke.




Dime con quién andas y te diré quién eres.

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05 Jun 2007 13:56 by Smiley Star rating in San Pedro de Alcanta.... 2494 posts Send private message

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To be honest I dont know why its called TD Tonght - he said two sentences at the beginning and then one to say goodnight!!


Smiley -

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05 Jun 2007 14:33 by georgia Star rating in Algorfa (As seen on .... 1839 posts Send private message

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I think Trevor is a very bitter man,it's either something to do with Lenny Henry taking the mickey out of him in the 80's or his wife has had an affair with an Estate agent!!

Personally i hope it was both, repeatedly!

When they talked about the factors that create a "boom and bust" being "greed and fear" they seemed to be aiming this statement and everyone apart from where they should be looking.

Tv sensationalism created the boom and now they have latched onto the fear factor and are fueling the flames of this latest bandwagon.

Jonathan maitlin should stick to dodgy plumbers on "house of horrors" and leave well alone what he has no idea about,after all they are only working with hearsay and conjecture and stating the obvious,any market is driven by confidence and for them to try and play puppeteers with people does not take a great deal of intelect or qualifications.He stated on the program that all estate agents are eternal optimists,don,t you bloody beleive it mate,we all have our bad days but it is our job and the glass does have to be half full.

For Example,the development they showed at Calaspara,with the woman who was obviously an expert in Inland Murcia,not a clue!!!these properties were built to order off plan by the buyer,so if no buyer then no house,so how can it not be sold!!!!!?Also Calaspara although beautiful and a very holy place is miles from the coast with hardly any infrastrucure,Polaris is in Murcia,why didn't they go there,because they have just sold 100 properties in 1 weekend,no story me thinks!

I am not suprised she has only sold 1 property in six months,i think she would have struggled to find her way out of the shop!!!

If they want to do a program on something major that will stop the enjoyment of living here and 31% of Brits buying abroad still chosing Spain as their home then bring it on but this is just becoming boring now!!!

Anyone can stand in front of an apartment block and say "they are building too many properties"well done einstein,no kidding!

The only thing that will stop people comin here is if there is a massive turn around in the culture or all the puffing and panting about the property market blows the sun out! 

I will shut up now as it's too warm to get aggrevated,rant over but these people do wind me up,i am off to sell Trevor a nice little plot in a motorway tunnel,can get busy in the peak periods but other than that nice views to the mountains!!!



_______________________ still here after all these years!

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05 Jun 2007 15:00 by alanwspencer Star rating in Hertfordshire/Duques.... 340 posts Send private message

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The point is Trevor McDonald merely puts his name to the programme and fronts it. I would be very surprised if he actually had an input on the editorial. If enough people complain to the programme makers I am sure he would then look into it as he wouldn't want to risk his reputation on a show that was less than honest.


To Dare Is To Do

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05 Jun 2007 16:48 by Patty_1 Star rating in Hertfordshire. UK. .... 1063 posts Send private message

Yes Alan, I think you are probably right really what they are doing is using his name to get people to watch the programme.  As you say he might not have had any input into it at all.   But  you are right if they receive a number of complaints they might do something but dont hold your breath.  It has been interesting reading  all these different comments.   I'm afraid I just take it all with a pinch of  salt. but then   it does not affect me which sounds selfish I know.  But I know of quite a few people that are still buying in Spain it has not put them off.  But I also know some that have bought in Bulgaria, so I am waiting to see how they get on.     Regards Pat 



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05 Jun 2007 18:39 by goodstich44 Star rating in northampton. 1652 posts Send private message

i didn't see the prog' , but reading from various sites/forums, opinion seems to be split on this being  to hard or to soft on the real situation?.  For  those like us who have been well and truly screwed by sharks and are facing a long and expensive court battle, then it doesn't sound like it crticised the sharks enough or explained just how the lies and greed of  some agents/lawyers/developers have messed up peoples lives and the reputation of Spain as somewhere to consider buying. On the other hand it doesn't sound like it featured  the positive side either of some places or people who are happy and content with their purchase and/or situation and could advise on trustworthy contacts. So did it please anyone?  I guess part of the problem is, Spain goes from a lovely place in some areas for some people, to a living nightmare for others in other places, how do you cover that range without damage to one side or the other?.  Perphaps they should come clean and say for some, in some situations it's heaven, for others, through no fault of their own it's a living hell, and let people make up their own mind?

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06 Jun 2007 09:29 by alanwspencer Star rating in Hertfordshire/Duques.... 340 posts Send private message

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Making a television programme is all about balance. This particular programme had a very negative bias. However, if they had highlighted the very big problems some people have had they are aware that this would have a far bigger reaction and tipped the balance. This would then discredit the show and the effect would be lost. To use a cooking analagy they have added just enough sweetness to the sour ingredients to get people complaining but not enough to send the dish back!


To Dare Is To Do

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06 Jun 2007 10:30 by tippytoes Star rating. 3 posts Send private message


I have read all the comments and would like to say that the programme has now made us anxious.  Over the weekend we spend hours questioning whether we should make the move over to Spain.  We are in the process of purchasing an offplan and completion date is someday this month.

We decided to not go now and stay in the UK.  We planned to move out permenantely with our young children (plus I am expecting another in Oct) but now seems too risky.   

The programme has caused us to re-think.  Many of you who are positive may not be in my position and perhaps already live there so do not have the same dilemmas as me.




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06 Jun 2007 10:43 by georgia Star rating in Algorfa (As seen on .... 1839 posts Send private message

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That is a real shame and a travesty if it denies you and your family a better quality of life.

What exactly was it in this drivel that made you change your mind?



_______________________ still here after all these years!

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06 Jun 2007 11:49 by goodstich44 Star rating in northampton. 1652 posts Send private message


sadly, by deciding to buy in Spain, i have denied my family a better quality of life in Britain. If i had put my  £35,000 in to property here 5 years ago, we could now be living in a far nicer house than we are now, and we could have saved several  years of lies and deception. If things go OK in Spain, as i realise they have for many, then great, and i don't blame you for wanting people to see the good side. However for many of us it has, and still is a disaster.

If some of the facts on the programme were not true, then as you say, that is just wrong, but having now seen the programme, i would say that  we, like most people were happy to take risk of rising/falling prices, but could never have expected the degree of lies and corruption we have encountered over the last 5 years and that includes lawyers (one, who is now under investigation by the law society). I think It really does depend on which side of the fence you sit, if anything, i thought the programme understated just how bad things could be for many people, and the feeling it gave of dismay and disbelief of the Spanish  legal system was a true reflection of how some of us feel.

I feel tippytoes is right to voice extreme caution over the decision to move to Spain, at least untill the justice system more often favours those in the right, and not those with 'the right' money!

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