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The Goose, the Gander and treating them equally.

To my mind there is nothing more cringe worthy than “political correctness” and there is no element of political correctness that is more eye rollinglly bad than the requirement for the in inclusion of “obligatory ethnic minorities” into works of fiction especially when the plot is twisted in a most gross way to accommodate them.

One of the most blatant and ridiculous examples was in that execrable “Robin Hood” program that made one of the white male characters female, black and Muslim.

Now I come across a piece complaining that a show set in the quintessential English rural setting where nearly every face is white in actuality complaining that there are no black faces included in the casting choices  by the production. Is it any wonder that the English feel culturally besieged by this sort of nonsense?

Just look at the argument being put:

Leaving aside that no one seems to be able to define what “Englishness” actually is (presumably it doesn’t include Welshness, Scottishness, or Cornish pasties), True-May’s comments highlight his own creative shortcomings and are also wildly insulting to his audience. He is effectively telling black viewers (and actors) Midsomer is not for them, while simultaneously assuming the show’s viewers are as small minded as he is.

“I’m trying to make something that appeals to a certain audience, which seems to succeed. And I don’t want to change it,” said True-May. His argument seems to be: “Ridiculously improbable murders: Fine. Believable non-white characters? They’d never stand for it, and neither would I.”

It’s a fact that people like to see themselves represented on screen, and in this respect middle aged white men are no different to the rest of us – after all, David Cameron famously claimed it was his favourite television programme – but is he really saying that black characters have no place on screen in anything other than gritty urban drama?

If the viewer can suspend their belief enough to believe that the sleepy village of Midsomer is a hotbed of adultery and murder, surely they’d be able to believe in well-rounded non-white characters? Has True-May really never seen a black person in wellies? And even if he hasn’t, does he really think his viewers would switch off in droves if he were to up the melanin a little? Please don’t insult our intelligence with cries of “it’s not authentic”. Neither are your plot lines but that doesn’t stop you. The idea that TV is so overrun with black characters that Midsomer Murders is representing a much neglected white viewer is ridiculous.

Hannah Pool appears to be one of those people who have a rather large chip on their shoulders about racism yet she will quite happily promote  a World Festival of Black Arts Yet she complains when the producer of that quintessential English art of the drawing room murder has, Gasp! quintessential white English characters. Frankly it does not matter a jot that the plots in Midsomer Murders are silly or contrived because all whimsical fiction is essentially silly. My question is why can’t you accept that there is no malicious racism in presenting a story that has no obligatory ethnic minorities in it? Especially when just about every other TV production from the UK does have plenty of opportunities for non white actors to strut their stuff?

Finally how would Hannah pool feel about a white critic complaining about the World festival of Black Arts Being Racist because despite the fact that there are white people living in Africa there is no inclusion of them in the festival now is there?

Its all about the Goose, the Gander and treating them equally isn’t it???.

Cheers Comrades


25 Comments

  1. Ray Dixon says:

    They used plenty of black actors in The Bill, an equally uniquely British show, Iain. So I guess there’s room for some criticism of Midsomer and its all white cast. Then again, The Bill is set in the more multicultural area of London, whereas Midsomer is a rural setting. I don’t live in England and neither do you so how do you know there are very few blacks living in parts like Midsomer depicts? Somehow I doubt that. But it’s just a bloody TV show with pretty ridiculous plots too. Who cares?

  2. gigdiary says:

    He is effectively telling black viewers…..Midsomer is not for them

    So black viewers are only capable of watching shows with black people in them? That’s rather disparaging of black people’s viewing choices. By the same token, none of the main actors in Midsomer are gay. Obviously that stops gay people from watching it. Neither the detective nor his sidekick get around in a wheelchair, like Ironsides did when solving crimes, so there’s another marginalised group. The only woman in the regular cast is the detective’s wife. Not much to appeal to feminists there either. Worse still, the only place of worship in the series is a Christian church.

    Perhaps a quota system is needed for fictional shows like Midsomer, so that no viewer can possibly feel excluded. Storylines should follow a predetermined format, so as to include all characters in a balanced and sanitised setting that doesn’t upset any viewer. Of course the villains in the drama will become misguided persons in need of counselling.

    I look forward to an episode like that.

  3. SockPuppet says:

    the villains in the drama …

    Maybe the blacks should play the villians.

  4. Craigy says:

    “and there is no element of political correctness that is more eye rollinglly bad than the requirement for the in inclusion of “obligatory ethnic minorities” into works of fiction especially when the plot is twisted in a most gross way to accommodate them.”

    You have it arse about Iain, the reason the producer has been stood down is that he told his staff to specifically not include black actors. You are twisting this to suit your anti PC agenda, just like you did with your Robin Hood post where you said this:

    “Taken to the extreme as it is in the UK where no show would get made without Obligatory ethnic minorities”

    And this post is about….ummmm…..a show that gets made without showing ethnic minorities.

    Foot meet gun…..bang!

    Now I accept that if you are making a show about tribal Africans, you may not have any white people in it and nor should you. But in this case, it is clear that minorities do live in English villages, so actually having a production policy that excludes the writers from creating black characters is just plain racist or is pandering to racists.

    See this article from the English Sun:

    http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/showbiz/tv/3470536/Asian-village-pub-boss-disputes-Midsomer-Murders-producer-Brian-True-Mays-views-on-rural-England.html

  5. gigdiary says:

    It’s a fiction Craigy, are you proposing guidelines for writing fiction?

  6. SockPuppet says:

    But if he puts blacks in as the villains they are people will say that is racist too. Hes in a no win position with this.

  7. gigdiary says:

    Socky, the only way to make it not racist is to put blacks in as detectives and whites as villains. Then the PC lobby won’t complain.

  8. gigdiary says:

    Also, most of those blacks should be female, and the male should be gay. Of course, the villains are hetero Caucasian types.

  9. SockPuppet says:

    I am pretty sure they have had gays & lesos in Midsomer GigGuy. Maybe they could just start by putting a few blacks in as extras then? You know as lorry drivers & labourers.

  10. gigdiary says:

    Geez, Socky you’re digging that hole bigger and bigger.

  11. SockPuppet says:

    I am just trying to find ways to help out GigGuy. I could stand back and just bellyache like Craygee does but no – I am an action man.

  12. gigdiary says:

    Well, you are very accommodating, that’s for sure, finding employment for actors who are clearly discriminated against. I’m just not sure the roles you offer are what the PC ninnies have in mind. See my previous comments. Detectives not villains, Lords of the Manor, not lorry drivers. Do you get the drift?

  13. SockPuppet says:

    They could work there ways up GigGuy.

  14. Iain Hall says:

    Now I accept that if you are making a show about tribal Africans, you may not have any white people in it and nor should you. But in this case, it is clear that minorities do live in English villages, so actually having a production policy that excludes the writers from creating black characters is just plain racist or is pandering to racists.

    Did you read the source piece for the quote Craigy ? It clearly make the point that the number of black people living in the rural villages where Midsomer is set are truly minuscule, I would argue that such villages are actually entirely analogous to the setting for your hypothetical ‘”show about tribal Africans” and as such there should be no more reason to have black people in the show as there would be for having white ones in the show you in your hypothetical suggestion.
    You can’t sustain an argument that that there is any racism involved here, apart form that being exhibited by Hannah Pool

  15. damage says:

    I just bet that Craigy does not get Little Britain’s Daffyd “The Only Gay in the Village” either.

  16. gigdiary says:

    How about some re-makes of other TV shows? The Three Stooges comes to mind, I don’t know why, but obviously a black person is missing here, like in Robin Hood, the third stooge could be a black, female muslim.

    ‘I Love Lucy’ would be good with Lucy being a dyke and her boss an understanding black man, well not actually her boss, her coworker.

    ‘I Dream of Jeannie’ is ripe for a sex change. Tony gets stuck in the bottle and Jeannie flies to the moon. Jeannie is of course African American.

    ‘F Troop’ is unisex. Most of the regiment are female, Dobbs is queer, Agarn and O’Rourke are an item, Captain Palmenter is a closet queen and Janey his fag hag. Of course, Captain Palmenter is a white man. You can’t possibly denigrate a black character in that way.

    That’s surely a lot more entertaining than recasting Midsomer Murders to suit the PC crowd.

  17. SockPuppet says:

    Boy you sure are kinky GigGuy. I did not know this about you.

  18. Craigy says:

    Iain, I don’t see it that way, she is writing about the producer who was stood down for instructing the writers not to include black actors in the plot. Why? Well this is what he said:
    “I’m trying to make something that appeals to a certain audience, which seems to succeed. And I don’t want to change it,”

    What does he mean? I take it that he means a white audience that wants to see only white people. What do you think he is on about?

    I am not suggesting quotas or anything like that. It is just I think most of the audience wouldn’t care if the occasional black face was written into the storyline by the writer, but this producer has said no for reasons that seem more than a little suspect. This reflects badly on the producer not on the reporter above. That’s my opinion and it’s supported by the fact that they stood the guy down.

  19. Ray Dixon says:

    There’s no mystery here, Craigy. Midsomer is clearly aimed at a white middle class audience that dreams of bygone days and wants to escape to England ‘the way it was’. The formula actually works, putting aside any so-called racism. I don’t know if we should intervene. Is it really worth it?

  20. Craigy says:

    I agree Ray, no need to do anything, the producer has been stood down.

  21. Iain Hall says:

    Craigy

    What does he mean? I take it that he means a white audience that wants to see only white people. What do you think he is on about?

    No it has nothing to do with race Craigy but it has everything to do with the conventions of the drawing room murder genre which draws upon Agathea Christie, Poriot and Miss Marple et all an that is a particularly English Genre That is what the audience want and expect

    the producer has been stood down.

    This is not the solution its the problem
    Have you seen that revolting version of Robin Hood that I refer to in my post?
    that is the ultimate result of this sort of political correctness nonsense.
    Under the sort of regime you suggest we would end up with more of that sort of travesty what is next a black Sherlock Holmes ?
    There is really no shortage of roles in all kinds of drama for black actors in the UK so why does EVERY show have to have the OEM?

  22. Ray Dixon says:

    Are there any aborigines in Neighbours or Home & Away? Genuine question – I wouldn’t know as I don’t watch them.

  23. Iain Hall says:

    I think that they have had them Ray but in real life holiday resorts and suburban streets they are not that uncommon.
    I actually liked that Arron Petersen played a detective in City homicide but his being black was not ever mentioned.

  24. Luzu says:

    I was in the UK last year. I spent a lot of time in Cardiff and rural areas, with some time in London, Edinburgh and York. To be honest, I did not see a lot of non-white faces.
    The crux of the problem is this: The producer has said that he will not change the ethnic makeup of his show because by and large, ethnic minorities in the UK do not live in the rural areas. This needs to be scrutinised as to whether it is the truth or not.
    BUT even his saying this is simply beyond the PC pale. He has not said that he hates ethnics, considers them lesser human beings or that they should be stripped of their rights because of the level of melanin in their skin. He has simply stated that in rural England, there are fewer ethnic people living and as his show is set in rural England, he doesn’t feel the need to put in characters who are not white simply to satisfy those who, like the makers of that absolutely deplorable Robin Hood, feel if there are no visible minorities in a drama, then it’s racist, rather than an actual reflection of how things are.
    The Bill with an all white cast would not have made sense. Equally, Robin Hood with a black offsider does not make sense. People look for offence where actually there is none. It’s a kind of new morality, although now instead of social taboos concerning adultery and divorce, social ostracism (and career death) comes with being tagged a racist or a homophobe. Interesting times we live in.

  25. Ray Dixon says:

    I live in a small rural town in NE Victoria. If they made a TV show here – let’s call it ‘Bright Murders’ – they’d be fairly accurate to type if they had an all white cast. There’d be a few hillbillies though. Oh, and Poms.

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