1st March 2010

Debut of Guernsey-set comedy This is Jinsy

Jinsy is a fictional island cast adrift off the coast of France. Sound familiar? In reality, it was a stand-in for Guernsey in a surreal British comedy piloted by the BBC. The broadcaster wanted to find something new for its youth channel, BBC3. This is Jinsy looked like it might just fit the bill.

In the end, it changed its mind. After broadcasting the pilot it decided not to proceed.

But Jinsy lived on. Sky Altantic recognised its potential, and commissioned two full series, comprising 17 episodes in total. The opening episode of series one had its first airing on Monday 19 September 2011. The last entry in series two aired on Wednesday 12 February 2014.

Jinsy celebrities

Chris Bran and Justin Chubb wrote and fronted both series. Both were born on Guernsey, and they attracted some big names to play alongside them like Harry Hill and Jennifer Saunders. Other guests included Stephen Fry, David Tennant, Catherine Tate, Jane Horrocks, Katy Brand, Ben Miller, Rob Brydon, Olivia Colman and Derek Jacobi.

It’s a bit like a comedy version of The Prisoner. It focuses on Arbiter Maven and Operative Sporall, who keep watch over Jinsy’s tiny population from the Great Tower.

As the Independent described it:

Jinsy (population 971) is stuck somewhere in the 1970s, governed by Arbiter Maven – whose nasal hairs offer insights into the future – and populated by means of a random televised “marriage lottery”… it’s brilliantly done. The world that’s been created is genuinely surreal, with its televised punishment round-ups, bizarre clothing and odd religion, which sees residents don cupboards in a mistaken attempt to welcome the messiah… it offers a slice of oddball humour quite unlike anything else to be found.

Viewers and reviewers alike gave the comedy the thumbs up. It won nominations in the Rose d’Or 2010 sitcom category (for the pilot) and for best sketch show at the 2011 British Comedy Awards (for series one as a whole).


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Other events that occured in March

Debut of Guernsey-set comedy This is Jinsy 1st
Channel 4 broadcasts Sark-based Mr Pye 2nd
First ever broadcast of Puffin’s Pla(i)ce 3rd
Dead man appointed to run Guernsey Airport 4th
Guernsey’s entire police force is arrested 5th
Isle of Guernsey delivered to its new owners 6th
Guernsey players set darts record
Guernsey heads call for an end to the Eleven-plus 7th
Guernsey’s first governor, Edmund Weston, is appointed 8th
Occupying forces mount a desperate raid on Granville 9th
Guernsey emergency services prepare for a disaster 10th
Birth of Baron James de Saumarez 11th
First publication of Victor Hugo’s Toilers of the Sea 12th
Building work starts on Guernsey Airport 13th
Guernsey’s island-wide police force is established 14th
Guernsey exchange student goes missing in Virginia 15th
The Book of Ebenezer Le Page is published 16th
BBC Radio Guernsey takes to the air
Guernsey clears up after heaviest snow in years 17th
Torrey Canyon spills oil on Guernsey’s beaches 18th
Guernsey issues banknotes featuring famous locals 19th
Guernsey guidebook pioneer Henry Inglis dies 20th
Soldiers staged a mutiny at Fort George 21st
Alderney arrest sparks a “riot” 22nd
Guernsey nurse Elizabeth Lincoln elected to the States 23rd
Famed printer Thomas de la Rue born 24th
Guernsey votes for equal age of consent 25th
Guernsey to UK telephone connection inaugurated 26th
Condor Liberation enters service 27th
Guernsey Post Office is established 28th
Enemy at the Door comes to the end of its run 29th
Guernsey adopts Sterling currency 30th
Guernsey and France tackle the Amoco Cadiz oil spill 31st