British TV travel show tours Baltimore XTC

September 30, 1994|By Victor Paul Alvarez | Victor Paul Alvarez,Contributing Writer

After just two days in town, the cast and crew of a British television travel program are saying that people in Baltimore are friendly, helpful and proud.

The city's Chesapeake Bay, panhandlers (a reminder of London) and penchant for mispronouncing Thames -- for them, it's "tems" -- Street charmed the cast and crew of the "Wish You Were Here?" travel show.

After arriving Wednesday night and soaking up a bit of city life around Pratt Street, the crew spent yesterday filming portions of an upcoming program on the Washington, Baltimore and Annapolis area.

"We're calling it 'A Tale of Three Cities,' " said John Carter, writer and co-host of the travel show. The show, which will air in the United Kingdom some time in January, will not be broadcast in the states.

Yesterday, the film crew began at the National Aquarium's "Dolphin Discoveries: Life Beneath the Waves" show, and moved on to the Cross Street Market, Fells Point and Fort McHenry.

As Mr. Carter stepped out of the aquarium and into the crisp Baltimore afternoon, he was struck by the Inner Harbor.

Standing near the S.S. Torsk submarine and speaking of the city's renaissance, he looked across the bay and said, "It's marvelous what you've done to the city. You seem to have gotten everything right.

"A lot of cities think they can just throw money at an area and it will attract people, but this is different," Mr. Carter said.

"This has the right mix of old and new architecture; it has a personality."

He looks forward to having a crab cake and a cold beer in Fells Point, and to dispelling some British myths about U.S. cities.

you happen to be a piece of America that is not in the movies, they don't know you," Mr. Carter said.

Peter Chambliss, deputy director of the Maryland Tourism Office, is trying to change that. His office runs a $300,000 advertising campaign in both Great Britain and Germany.

The campaign is selling the Maryland, Washington and Virginia region as the "Capitol Region U.S.A."

"The selling points are the Baltimore renaissance, the quiet colonial capital of Annapolis and, of course, the Chesapeake Bay. Also, you'd be surprised how many British people are interested in the Civil War," Mr. Chambliss said, and even come here to participate in re-enactments.

But British travelers who come for those are probably the exception.

According to Mr. Carter, the "Wish You Were Here?" co-host, "British people are ignorant about America. They expect to come here and find Kojak and skyscrapers."

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