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||United Kingdom|
|No. of series||1|
|No. of episodes||6|
|Executive producers||Garfield Kennedy|
|Running time||30 minutes|
|Production company||Leafstorm Ltd.|
|Original network||BBC Two|
|Original release||3 August –|
6 September 2005
|Related shows||Are You Dave Gorman?|
How To Start Your Own Country is 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.
"Birth of a Nation"
Danny investigates territory for his new country, starting by visiting Sealand. He also meets Erwin Strauss and Dennis Hope, a man who claims to own the Moon. He "invades" Eel Pie Island but leaves after the police are called. He makes friends with a 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 neighborhood of Christiania. He also speaks to a Catholic Cardinal about the role of religion in society and 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.
Kingdom of Lovely
Kingdom of LovelyMicronation
|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|
|1 January 2005|
|Membership||~58,165 (as of 1 December 2007)|
|Purported currency||Interdependent Occupational Unit (IOU)|
Wallace named his micronation the Kingdom of Lovely. Like several other micronations it is a partly Internet-based project that claims a small amount of territory. Wallace proclaimed himself King and, at its peak, 58,165 "citizens" were registered on the micronation's website citizensrequired.com. This site is no longer active.
The sole official territory of Lovely was Wallace's flat in Bow, East London, but citizens of Lovely were 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.
The show depicted Wallace attempting to acquire various accouterments of statehood for his fledgling nation. These included:
- The country's name. Wallace solicited ideas online and put his two favorites "Home" and "Lovely" to a vote.
- A national holiday: "Lovely Day" on 2 September, celebrating the nation's naming.
- A flag featuring a blue stripe and a red stripe at erratic angles on a white background.
- A pixellated coat of arms to reflect the Internet-based nature of the micronation
- A Latin motto: Die Dulci freure (sic – the correct Latin is fruere), meaning "Have a nice day".
- A national anthem performed by Banks & Wag.
When the owners of a private island in Ireland rejected Lovely's currency (The "Interdependent Occupational Unit (IOU)") as a basis for sale, Wallace tried to start his 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 several 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 democracy advocate Noam Chomsky, Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Arizona, Giorgio Carbone, Prince of Seborga, Major General Andrew Graham and Erwin Strauss, author of the guidebook How to Start Your Own Country.
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 who 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. Despite all this, Wallace appeared before his citizens in full regal attire in the final episode, declaring that their new country now had more citizens than seven internationally recognised countries, including Vatican City, Monaco, and Liechtenstein.
The Guardian Angel, a Lovelian citizen-run newspaper operated between September 2005 and September 2007.
On Wallace's website he describes the show as gaining "an almost-too-loyal fanbase, several of whom take against me when I am unable to dedicate my entire life to running a small country from my flat."
- List of micronations
- Flags of micronations
- Micronations: The Lonely Planet Guide to Home-Made Nations