How to Start Your Own Country
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|How To Start Your Own Country|
|Created by||Danny Wallace|
|Presented by||Danny Wallace|
|Theme music composer||Banks & Wag|
|Country of origin||UK|
|No. of series||1|
|No. of episodes||6|
|Executive producer(s)||Garfield Kennedy
|Running time||30 minutes|
|Original channel||BBC Two|
|Original run||3 August 2005 – 6 September 2005|
|Related shows||Are You Dave Gorman?|
How To Start Your Own Country was a six-part BBC Television documentary comedy series aired between August and September 2005. The show was presented by British writer/comedian Danny Wallace and followed his quest to start his own country in his flat in Bow, London. The micronation he created was eventually named "Lovely".
The series was released on DVD in the UK on 18 June 2007, having been postponed from October 2005.
"Birth of a Nation"
Wallace investigates territory for his proposed country, beginning by visiting Sealand. He meets the man who owns the Moon, he "invades" Eel Pie Island but leaves his post of "leader" when the Police are called. He makes friends with a Major General of the British Army. He eventually decides upon the area of his flat as the Territory and makes a declaration of Independence which he gives to Tony Blair.
"For King and Country"
Danny Wallace meets the SAS (Second amendment sisters) and meets the King of Fusa. He also goes to The Principality of Seborga.
"State of a Nation"
Wallace visits two very different 'utopian' communities, the planned town of Celebration which maintains its pleasantness through strict rules and regulations, and the anarchic self-governing neighbourhood of Christiania. He also speaks to a Catholic Cardinal about the role of religion in society and to Sheriff Joe Arpaio about law and order.
"The Bank of Danny"
When he struggles to pay his electricity bill, Wallace begins to kick-start his country's economy. He investigates the National Debt, with advice from former Chancellor of the Exchequer Kenneth Clarke. He designs his own currency, the IOU (Interdependent Occupational Unit), which he shows to Andrew Bailey, the Chief Cashier at the Bank of England. He also discovers the Principality of New Utopia and interviews the UK Pro Consul, Tony Nicodemous. He applies for international aid, and fails, due to the wealth of his citizens.
"The United Nations"
This final episode ends with a gathering of citizens in Leicester Square, where Wallace reveals that the country is to be called Lovely.
A show called Citizen TV, also presented by Danny Wallace, was shown to digital viewers after each episode, giving news and discussions about the country. New episodes of Citizen TV, an hour phone-in show that was available after the main show via BBC.
The Kingdom of Lovely
|Kingdom of Lovely
|Motto: Die dulci freure
Have a nice day
|Anthem: National anthem of the Kingdom of Lovely by Banks & Wag|
|Location||None (see footnote)|
|Organizational structure||Constitutional Monarchy|
2005 – present
|-||Declared||1 January 2005|
|Membership||~58,165 (as of 1 December 2007)|
|Purported Currency||Interdependent Occupational Unit (IOU)|
The Kingdom of Lovely is a partly Internet-based micronation that claims as its territory an East London flat owned—and once lived in—by its creator and ruler, the comic writer Danny Wallace. Lovely has 58,165 citizens registered on its website (citizensrequired.com, no longer active).
The official territory of Lovely was Wallace's flat in Bow, East London, but citizens of Lovely are invited to declare a room, or some other building or land belonging to them, to be an embassy for the country by taking a photograph displaying Lovely's flag there.
Lovely's flag, coat of arms and motto were designed by London-based design studio Pentagram. The pixellated coat of arms is intended to reflect the internet-based nature of the micronation, as did the studio's final flag, a pixellated Union Flag. Wallace, however, preferred a different flag proposal, featuring a blue stripe and a red stripe at erratic angles on a white background – that is, the same colours as the Union Jack but positioned off-centre in an eccentric fashion. The Latin motto is Die dulci freure (sic – the correct Latin is fruere), meaning "Have a nice day".
Wallace originally tried to start a nation by "invading" Eel Pie Island in London with the help of his friend Jon Bond, now Lovely's Minister of Defence. Bond was chosen for the role having once worked as a security guard at Tesco, making him the closest thing Wallace had to an army. However, the Metropolitan Police were contacted by local people, and Wallace was forced to call off the "invasion". After speaking to a number of people including the leaders of Sealand and Dennis Hope, who claims to own the moon, Wallace declared his flat to be a sovereign nation on 1 January 2005 and he set about populating the micronation and recording the television series. Other notable interviewees included Noam Chomsky (who discussed democracy) and a prisoner condemned to death at a prison in United States with whom Wallace discussed crime and punishment in an emotionally charged episode.
The national anthem video was recorded in late March 2005 in Greenwich Park, with the help of some of the early citizens plus members of Join Me, a "collective" begun by the King some years earlier. The country remained nameless for several weeks after it declared itself independent, and thousands of suggestions for names were put forward online. Wallace chose his two favourites, "Home" and "Lovely", and let his citizens decide the winner by online vote. The country was officially named on 2 September 2005 at an invitation-only gathering of citizens held in Leicester Square. This day was an official holiday of Lovely called "Lovely Day".
During the broadcasting run of "How to Start Your Own Country", additional material was broadcast to digital TV viewers after each episode. This took the style of a national broadcast named Citizen TV. It was presented live by Danny Wallace and featured news, a special guest (usually a member of Wallace's government) and conversations with "citizens" who had called in. An early political change occurred when Wallace fired his first foreign minister live on air and appointed citizen Kieran Collins in his place.
Wallace attempted to submit a song of his own composition, Stop The Mugging And Start The Hugging, as the Lovely entry to the Eurovision Song Contest 2006. The contest's scrutineer, Svante Stockselius, met with Wallace and was sympathetic to his cause but informed him that Lovely could not enter the Contest as it has no national television or radio station of its own and therefore could not join the European Broadcasting Union (EBU). Wallace then submitted his song to the BBC (which is an EBU member which supports the UK entry to the contest), in an attempt to receive their backing — their judges, however, were unimpressed.
The series also showed Wallace's attempts to gain official recognition for Lovely at the United Nations, which was established to be the true mark of statehood. These efforts were unsuccessful, largely because of Lovely's lack of independent territory; Wallace's own flat being within the UK.
- Ryan, John; Runford, George; and Sellars, Simon. Micronations. Lonely Planet, 2006, p. 28.
- How To Start Your Own Country at the Internet Movie Database
- Danny Wallace's website
- Last alive Stronghold of Lovely