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. . To hate that there's not enough black people on tv

(143 Posts)
Iloverusks Fri 27-Sep-13 11:44:59

Yesthey are flittered into the soaps and some tv shows. But since Desmond's there has not been a tv show where the majority of the cast are black. Of course there are countless "all white" shows.

In these multicultural times why is this the case?

nickelbabe Fri 27-Sep-13 12:28:34

i think black families (and asian too) within shows that depict family life are important to have.

I should imagine that a show should be commissioned on merit, though, not on what colour the cast are?

This reminds me about the ex-producer of Midsomer Murders who was tackled about the lack of black people on his show. He said, basically, that although Midsomer as a county is fictional, it was based very much on the villages and small towns where it is filmed, namely Oxfordshire and Berkshire, which is almost exclusively white apart from the very large towns and cities. Therefore the series including very, very few black people was accurate.

Unfortunately he didn't choose the best words to say this and he was attacked (rightly, for choice of words) and had to go.

I am nearly 40 and where I live is relatively rural and similar to those counties and if you set a programme here, even in a decent sized town, you'd probably have a cast that was 86.5% white English, 1% white Scottish, 1% white Welsh, 2% white Irish, 2% Asian, 7% white Polish and 0.5% black.

There is definitely a higher percentage of black people on TV now than when I grew up, though. I only ever remember Trevor MacDonald and Lenny Henry from the late-70s and early-80s.

I loved Desmond's too!!!!

manicinsomniac Fri 27-Sep-13 12:30:00

I haven't noticed as I don't have a tv so most programmes I watch are American and therefore quite multicultural.

I imagine it's representative of the UK though isn't it? I think the UK is about 10% non white so very very white biased.

FlapJackFlossie Fri 27-Sep-13 12:31:13

I also look forward to when a persons ethnicity rarely has a bearing on the role they are given.

You'll be a long time waiting I think.

DiamondMask Fri 27-Sep-13 12:31:14

'So yes I would like to see prominent roles for women, ethnic minorities, disabled people and older people on tv, I also want the roles to be well written, not cliched and stereotypical - but even now that seems to be a big ask. I also look forward to when a persons ethnicity rarely has a bearing on the role they are given.'

^ that.

motherinferior Fri 27-Sep-13 12:31:29

Eldritch - I've been quite impressed (well, surprised) by the ethnic mix in stuff about the police. Admittedly some of that was Luther grin but also that rather terrific series where everyone shot each other in the end about pensions.

Otherwise I agree with you.

MikeOxard Fri 27-Sep-13 12:31:32

Yes, if only there were more black people on tv, things would be so much better...

YABU and fucking weird! What's wrong with you? The tv reflects the racial mix in the country fairly well imo.

SilverApples Fri 27-Sep-13 12:31:56

It's around 12% non-white, and the distribution is very variable with large clusters in cities and whole counties with comparatiively few.

WaspInTheHouse Fri 27-Sep-13 12:32:40

The tv should represent the racial make-up of the country in number terms is hardly a valid argument because shows are set in specific places. So, why always choose predominantly white places? Why is a run down working class area always about the white working class? Why is a middle class area about the white middle class? Why do historical programmes never show minorities as if the whole of the UK was only populated by white people until the 1960s?

WaspInTheHouse Fri 27-Sep-13 12:36:04

This reminds me about the ex-producer of Midsomer Murders who was tackled about the lack of black people on his show. He said, basically, that although Midsomer as a county is fictional, it was based very much on the villages and small towns where it is filmed, namely Oxfordshire and Berkshire, which is almost exclusively white apart from the very large towns and cities. Therefore the series including very, very few black people was accurate.

This argument only stands up if the those areas also suffer from VAST murder rates. Now if the murder numbers can just be made up why is it such a stretch to include minorities?!?

Wasp - I believe Downton Abbey is about to have a black character. But generally, prior to WWII, the numbers of non-black people in the UK were very, very low.

Mother ooh I liked that one about the Police and pensions and shooting it was called 'something something the line' or something blush and had a great cast!

motherinferior Fri 27-Sep-13 12:38:25

But a damn sight higher than people commonly think, actually, in the big cities.

oops, I meant non-white people in my previous post!

GoshAnneGorilla Fri 27-Sep-13 12:45:58

OP YANBU.

I loved Desmonds too and it pleased me no end when a clip from it was shown in the tv bit in the Olympic opening ceremony smile.

Portrayal of ethnic minorities is still very poor.

Wasp good comment.

I think falling back on stats to defend the lack of varied casting is a little weak and depressing - fictional programmes are not restricted in the way documentaries are - they can play with reality and cast actors that are right for the role or will do interesting things with a role. Challenge the staus quo. A quota system is not what we need. Casting directors and producers should be braver - civilisation will not come to an end if there are black people protrayed in Engilsh rural setting or in a costume drama.

sashh Fri 27-Sep-13 12:49:11

I see your black cast and raise you disabled cast, event he last leg is 1/3 able bodied.

(oh and if we are just looking at not whit then what about goodness gracious me and the Kumars?)

DesperatelySeekingSedatives Fri 27-Sep-13 12:50:45

I'm currently bopping along to the Desmond theme tune thats playing in my head grin fantastic show.

I do see your point OP especially is certain shows like Eastenders where in RL a lot more people would be many other different races than white British which is what the show potrays.

PlayedThePinkOboe Fri 27-Sep-13 12:52:43

YANBU. sad I despair at so few black characters on tv/film - especially stuff which comes out of the US.

I'm no expert but I understand there are enormous black populations in Birmingham and Bristol - where are they represented on mainstream TV?

Dancing on the Edge is an example of a recent series with a majority black cast. It was a costume drama set in the 1930's and was very good I thought.

EldritchCleavage Fri 27-Sep-13 13:51:59

FlapJack I know the West Country quite well (bits of it anyway) but I hear depressing things about it now. Seems to be getting worse not better.

EldritchCleavage Fri 27-Sep-13 13:53:52

I like Jeremy Kyle's new doctor, Dr Aaron Ghosh, which has nothing to do with anything except he's multicultural

Is that the new euphemism for black or Asian then?

mrsjay Fri 27-Sep-13 13:56:11

^Or actors with a disability where the entire role isn't focused on the disability.
Name a couple^

I was just going to say this the last one people were offended by the title and thought it was making fun and insulting to disabled people confused

there is lots of black faces on tv maybe as telly programmes is about storylines and not casting then people don't notice,

what about women over 40 on tv is normal women not naggy mother types

EldritchCleavage Fri 27-Sep-13 14:03:20

True mother (hello, dear), Luther was good for that: black male lead; black female lead; mixed race second male lead. Amazing, in fact.

I don't think there should be quotas and it isn't about rigidly reflecting population percentages. Just about a sense of inclusion and also giving talented actors roles, whether minority ethnic ones or disabled actors or whatever, not just unthinkingly defaulting to a white able norm.

There are a lot of black coppers in TV drama, but not so many black doctors, academics, lawyers, accountants etc. Why not give an incidental role as e.g. a surveyor or a teacher in a drama to a BME or disabled person? Why is it that the UK produces absolutely fantastic actors from all communities but the non-white ones end up going abroad in order to work regularly?

Often people won't cast them as they think it is jarring. A playwright friend of mine was asked by producers if he minded a particular role in his play going to a black person (who was in the end not cast). Why even ask him? It amounts to: 'Oh, we're giving you the chance to engage in a bit of racial discrimination here'.

How can Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Adrian Lester and David Oyelowo take the RSC, West End Theatre and Hollywood by storm but not get TV or film roles in the UK?

nicename Fri 27-Sep-13 14:05:45

You rarely see a pregnant woman unless it's part of the the storyline. I suspect something awful is going to happen to the pregnant pathologist in Whitechapel.

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