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
Original language(s) English
No. of series 1
No. of episodes 6
Production
Executive producer(s) Garfield Kennedy
Julian Pearson
Producer(s) Lee Philips
Running time 30 minutes
Broadcast
Original channel BBC Two
Original run 3 August 2005 – 6 September 2005
Chronology
Related shows Are You Dave Gorman?
External links
Website

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.

Episodes[edit]

"Birth of a Nation"[edit]

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.

"Citizens Required"[edit]

With the help of an advertising agency, Wallace chooses a design for the flag of his country. He records a national anthem, which is played during his interview on Iain Lee's LBC show.

"For King and Country"[edit]

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"[edit]

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.

A sombre visit to death row and an interview with the death row chief John George leads him to decide against the death penalty in his country.

"The Bank of Danny"[edit]

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"[edit]

Wallace attempts to enter the Eurovision Song Contest 2006 in Athens with a song called "Stop the Muggin', Start the Huggin'".

In an attempt to officially become a country, he travels to New York to try to win the support of the United Nations. The lack of a territory lets him down.

This final episode ends with a gathering of citizens in Leicester Square, where Wallace reveals that the country is to be called "Lovely."

Citizen TV[edit]

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.

The Kingdom of Lovely[edit]

Kingdom of Lovely
Micronation
Flag Coat of Arms
Motto: Die dulci freure
Have a nice day
Anthem: National anthem of the Kingdom of Lovely by Banks & Wag
Status Inactive
Location None (see footnote)
Official languages English
Demonym Lovelian
Organizational structure Constitutional Monarchy
 -  King Danny I
2005 – present
Establishment
 -  Declared 1 January 2005 
Membership ~58,165 (as of 1 December 2007)
Purported Currency Interdependent Occupational Unit (IOU)
Notes
  1. The land used by the block of flats has not been claimed by Lovely, so it remains the territory of the United Kingdom under international law.
  2. A National Holiday (Lovely Day) is celebrated on 2 September

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).[1]

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 was 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, 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.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ryan, John; Runford, George; and Sellars, Simon. Micronations. Lonely Planet, 2006, p. 28.

External links[edit]