TV matters: Mark Lawson on Midsomer Murders | Televi...

http://www.guardian.co.uk/tv-and-radio/2011/mar/17/tv-...

TV matters: Midsomer Murders
The diversity row over Midsomer Murders points up TV drama's enforced doctrine of realism
Mark Lawson The Guardian, Thursday 17 March 2011

A tyranny of accuracy ... Midsomer Murders. Photograph: Mark Bourdillon

The controversy over producer Brian True-May's declaration of Midsomer Murders as an all-white zone has largely turned on whether he has the excuse of historical or geographic accuracy: that a stereotypical English village of the kind depicted might well be culturally monotone. But a larger issue arises for television drama. In the unlikely event that Caroline Graham's novels were adapted for the National Theatre or the RSC, the objections to the TV version would not apply. Most UK theatres now operate a "colour-blind casting" policy so that, for example, in the National's current Frankenstein, a white son has a non-white father, with no narrative point (such as adoption) being made. This practice is largely accepted. But imagine the fury on Points of View if a small-screen AngloCaribbean Elizabeth Bennet sat at the dining table with her white parents. The main reason for this difference is that television has accepted a dogmatic doctrine of realism. The native dialect on feedback shows and blogs and the Radio Times letters page is outraged correction of the uniform a certain regiment would have worn, or the incorrect address to a duchess spotted in a costume drama. This fact-checking mentality is encouraged partly because TV has strongly journalistic terms of

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engagement: a drama is likely to be preceded or followed by a documentary or news bulletin. So a tyranny of accuracy descends to fiction, solidified by the ease with which telly pedantry can be expressed. A theatre-goer who dislikes a cross-racial production of Chekhov sends a letter to the stage door. The spotter of an alleged solecism in a small-screen Austen has numerous newspapers paying court. The consequence, though, is that deliberately inclusive casting becomes almost impossible and the UK's large talent-base of non-white actors is left reliant for work on dramas about the slave trade or police and medical soaps with a contemporary urban setting. Someone should try a colour-blind costume drama, even if the audience screams Midsomer Murder.

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Comments in chronological order (Total 72 comments)
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gmseed 17 March 2011 9:00AM Some people are always playing the "race" card. Let's get rid of the truly "racist" stuff such as Asian radio. Recommend? (22) Report abuse

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lilian6 17 March 2011 9:28AM

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The recent controversy over lack of ethnic minorities in this program got me thinking about what programs I do watch as an ethnic minority. There are a number of things that may draw me to a program I used to watch mid summer because of john nettles he was in some jersey program so naturally I started watching this program because of him, I don’t watch it anymore not because he has lost his appeal but because there are other interesting things to watch. I do watch other program that have an all white cast due mainly to the appeal of the actors involved take Fraser or friends as an example Fraser the intellect of the show appealed to me friend it was a combination of the actors and the comedy. If there is an occasion on where there is a choice between midsummer friend or Fraser I would rather watch repeats of these than midsummer it has lost its appeal for me as a viewer I don’t think putting a black gardener in as a character would change that ( Is gardener the only occupation choice we have why not medical examiner or coroner) Recommend? (6) Report abuse

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Coffeeandcake 17 March 2011 9:39AM Grow up people ! The only reason for this controversy was that Midsomer Murders faced a shaky future after the departure of it`s leading man and his replacement by a walking hairbrush. The controversy created by Brian True May and his employers has put the show back in the headlines and no doubt boosted viewing figures. I don`t believe that professional journalists are so naive they don`t know this, and I`m amazed that the general public are apparently so unworldly as to not have worked it out for themselves. Still, it all goes to keep pundits and others in a job. Recommend? (11) Report abuse

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tindella 17 March 2011 9:39AM It's Political Correctness gone mad. Produce a programme about the residents of Harlem and be forced to include a white person? How many white people in Slumdog Millionaire? Isn't it "horses for courses"? Surely the appeal of Midsummer Mayhem is old-fashioned England which has disappeared. To write in a character who would not be present in the real world just to tick a box for the PC brigade would be criticised as phoney. Good on ye, True-May. It's your programme, so tell them to get stuffed. Recommend? (29) Report abuse

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LeGazman 17 March 2011 9:50AM So if a TV show is set in the highlands of Scotland, are people really saying that a token Pakistani should be present? I think it's all rather pathetic. Recommend? (13) Report abuse

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annedemontmorency 17 March 2011 9:59AM Midsomer Murders hardly deals with "reality" as it is. Let's face it , it has a murder rate more in tune with Ciudad Juarez than village England. The episode "Orchis Fatalis" had a couple of Chinese actors in it, one of whom was the lover of an English woman - shock horror! It's really a bit like telling a joke - "There was a vicar, a priest and a rabbi on a plane and..." then being interrupted to ask where the imam or shaman is. PC posturing with cultural diversity is not the point - the opposite is intended and wanted. Recommend? (5) Report abuse

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TVwriter 17 March 2011 10:01AM Even in theatre, I suggest, colour-blind casting is generally restricted to plays which don't have either a contemporary or a 'realist' (in the broadest sense) setting. So it works and is seen to work in Shakespeare, and has done for some years. But I'm not sure I can imagine seeing, say, an Ayckbourn play with colour-blind casting, because the social milieu is so very specific. Seeing a black parent with a white child (and no narrative point being made) in an Ayckbourn would, to me, be distracting, at least in the first instance. And if colour-blind casting, then why not gender-blind casting? Yes, we've had that in Shakespeare again, but in Journey's End? Or age-blind casting, with a daughter twice as old as her father? As far as television costume drama is concerned, the doctrine (if it is that) of realism would indeed preclude inclusive casting, if the particular prodiuction conforms to its genre. A black footman (historically correct) waiting upon the son (played by a black actor) of a white lord? It would, at the very least, mean an audience thinking more about that anomaly than the drama itself. I'd love to see a colour-blind Jane Austen TV film, as long as its other aspects were equally non-realist. But I wouldn't expect it to succeed on ITV at peak time. And the best Radio Times letters pedantry I remember was someone complaining about a Thomas

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Hardy adaptation, in which the breed of sheep shown wasn't introduced to England until four years after the novel was set. Recommend? (33) Report abuse

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cadwern 17 March 2011 10:01AM The point isn't that "Token" ethnic minorities should be adeed , but that the location was delibrated set upo as excuse to pander to a little englander fantasy of all white country. Recommend? (13) Report abuse

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Alanplant 17 March 2011 10:02AM Please see Postman Pat as an excellent example of how ethnic minorities can be included in a "traditional" rural English setting. Why can't MM do the same? Recommend? (41) Report abuse

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Pagey 17 March 2011 10:02AM To write in a character who would not be present in the real world just to tick a box for the PC brigade would be criticised as phoney. So ethnic minorities aren't real? Although I have to say I do disagree with colour-blind casting without explanation in the text. Recommend? (4) Report abuse

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cadwern

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17 March 2011 10:06AM What is realy disturbing is the aceptance of the "pc gone mad£ excuse, so that anyrracism more sublre than an EDF slogan is excused and it those who try and challenge xenophobic tabloid mentaliy of large swathes of the population is ridculed rather than the bigots. Recommend? (19) Report abuse

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SeanBarker 17 March 2011 10:09AM Bizarre to find people writing on a Guardian page and using phrases like "the PC Brigade" apparently without any irony or sense of their own stupidity. This was an interesting article and thanks for that. The expression "the tyranny of accuracy" particularly pleased me. Recommend? (29) Report abuse

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AlexNeedham 17 March 2011 10:09AM I find the arguments against colour-blind casting bizarre. I hate to break it to you, but what you're seeing on the stage or on screen isn't actually real. It's people pretending. Once you accept that, of course you can have a black Mr Darcy (or a white Othello). Recommend? (32) Report abuse

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cadwern 17 March 2011 10:10AM I meant EDL , not EDF , before some smug pedant jump on it . THough judging by the coment here the rascists are wining. Recommend? (5) Report abuse

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AlexNeedham 17 March 2011 10:11AM @LeGazman Do you seriously think there are no ethnic minorities in the Scottish Highlands? Of course there are. Recommend? (14) Report abuse

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Alanplant 17 March 2011 10:15AM Well the expression "tyranny of accuracy" got right on my tits actually. Along with the expressions "alleged solecism", "dogmatic doctrine of realism", "native dialect", "journalistic terms of engagement", "solidified by the ease" "telly pedantry" and "spotter of an alleged solecism". Recommend? (4) Report abuse

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Humphreybumphrey 17 March 2011 10:24AM It would have been fine if all he was saying was: "We don't cast many ethnic minority characters as there aren't many in a typical English village, so it wouldn't be very accurate." But I think when he goes on to say all that drivel about wanting to KEEP Midsomer as a "last bastion of Englishness" - so he'll never even consider casting a black role, not no way not no how - that's not on. Recommend? (86) Report abuse

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beedeepee 17 March 2011 10:28AM Great article, thanks, Mark. I think a lot of commenters are missing the point; this isn't a call to arms for tokenism, because tokenism is almost as bad as racial exclusion. Midsomer Murders does not deal with realistic situations. I grew up in a Northern village of fewer than 100 people, and we certainly had more contact with ethnic minorities than we had grisly murders and incest. This obsession with keeping it

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'English' is mad. Are blackness and Englishness now mutually exclusive? Who knew, eh? Recommend? (27) Report abuse

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beedeepee 17 March 2011 10:28AM @ Humphreybumphrey Exactly. Recommend? (4) Report abuse

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LeGazman 17 March 2011 10:28AM @AlexNeedham Having spent time touring the highlands in my childhood and as an adult I can safely say I have never seen a non-white resident, which is why I made the comment. Now I'm sure there are a some, but they will constitute a miniscule proportion. I'd also say that to include 1 or 2 Chinese people in a programme about 10 farmers in Kirkwall that would create some problems with authenticity. Recommend? (5) Report abuse

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nwhitfield 17 March 2011 10:35AM Do people really see someone of a different colour skin on stage and spend the next two hours fuming "Well, that's wrong; the father's played by a white person?" Personally, I find that just a little bit weird; isn't it the story, the drama, that's supposed to be the thing? Just as a good film can work in black and white, I'd have thought that a play can certainly work well colour-blind. I'm rather amazed that some people would become so distracted by seeing a non-white actor that they'd lose sight of the plot. As for Midsommer, I had the impression that it's supposed to be set in the present day - computers, mobile phones and all that stuff. If it were a period Miss Marple type thing, then perhaps there'd be a point to the claims of how unreal it would be to have the modern world reflected there.

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As it is, as many have pointed out, there are non-white people living outside the cities; perhaps not many. But to pretend otherwise does seem a touch perverse. To suggest Englishness means white is pretty stupid; to go on and say (it's oddly not oft-quoted, but in the Radio Times piece that caused all this fuss) " if you went in to Slough you wouldn't see a white face there" is beyond stupid, in my view. Recommend? (15) Report abuse

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Tweety3 17 March 2011 10:43AM The main reason for this difference is that television has accepted a dogmatic doctrine of realism Midsomer certainly hasn't. The programme is utterly bizarre, regardless of the current hoo ha. I thought it was a spoof, actually. Recommend? (3) Report abuse

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TVwriter 17 March 2011 10:46AM The point surely, is that Midsomer is trying to reproduce an Agatha Christie type of 1930s - 1950s idealised English Home Counties village/country town, though setting it nominally in the present day. It bears no more relation to the real contemporary world than does Christie. And in that sort of quasi-Christie milieu, an ethnic minority character would appear as an object of gossipy curiosity to the other villagers, which is, of course, unrealistic in a contemporary setting. At least, that, I imagine, is what Brian True-May meant by 'the last bastion of Englishness'. Personally I can't the stand the show, anyway, and would be delighted to see all sorts of ethnic minorities in it. It might liven it up. Recommend? (4) Report abuse

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TVwriter 17 March 2011 10:51AM @nwhitfield Do people really see someone of a different colour skin on stage and spend the next two hours fuming "Well, that's wrong; the father's played by a white person?"

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No. Just as a good film can work in black and white, I'd have thought that a play can certainly work well colour-blind. A fatuous comparison. I'm rather amazed that some people would become so distracted by seeing a non-white actor that they'd lose sight of the plot. Me too. Recommend? (3) Report abuse

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MarcBurrows 17 March 2011 10:51AM As as has been pointed out, this isn't about tokenism- no-one has forced True-May to cast Levi Roots as the village milkman. This is about him making a point of never including minorities at all, as a policy and his really, really dodgy justification for it. Anyone see the Express front page headline yesterday? Literally "KEEP MIDSOMER WHITE", and while the article itself was marginally less inflammatory if you actually read it, we're getting into pretty scary grounds with that headline. Worrying stuff. Political correctness hasn't just gone mad, it is justifiably bloody livid. Recommend? (47) Report abuse

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daisyr 17 March 2011 10:56AM @nwhitfield: Yes, there are people who complain about it. I remember people whinging about the Broadway version of The Little Mermaid - because mermaids living in a big city under the sea, that's fine, but a black merman having a white mermaid daughter? Now you're just being silly. @TVwriter: interesting thought on the Christie comparison, but surely an unmarried cohabiting couple or a divorcee or a single mum would have caused just as much eyebrow-raising in Christieland. I'd be surprised if there's never been any such characters in Midsomer Murders. Recommend? (7) Report abuse

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mike65ie 17 March 2011 11:07AM What would the nay-sayers like to see? the awkward insertion of ethnic minorities into the "never-never land" vibe of the series. the effect could be clangingly obvious and would raise the level of silliness to potentially new heights. "I'm off out love" "where to?" "Mr Patals corner shop" "okay honey, bring back some Naan bread for me!" Mrs White Middle-England woman rides her sit up and beg bicycle down the lane when she is slain by a character wielding a hedge trimmer. Inspector Barnaby (for it is he) arrives at the scene with Sergeant Jones "Cut down in her prime, poor dear" Jones spots and retrieves a brightly coloured head scarf from the verge "Hmmm, that's not Mrs White Middles-Englands, she had a subtle touch, Jones head over to the hostel and she who's wearing matching clothing, I think we'll find a suitable candidate". (Barnaby displays a smirk that could have subtext) cont p94 Recommend? (3) Report abuse

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rusticred 17 March 2011 11:09AM Some people are always playing the "race" card. Let's get rid of the truly "racist" stuff such as Asian radio. Anyone can listen , why the provocative remark? Recommend? (24) Report abuse

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killerontheroad 17 March 2011 11:14AM Time for some spin-off products then: Midsommer cakes, tea sets, Midsommer bread - 100% white! (BNP seal of approval!) Recommend? (3) Report abuse

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TVwriter 17 March 2011 11:14AM @daisyr @TVwriter: interesting thought on the Christie comparison, but surely an unmarried cohabiting couple or a divorcee or a single mum would have caused just as much eyebrow-raising in Christieland. I'd be surprised if there's never been any such characters in Midsomer Murders. But Christie certainly features divorcees, and children out of wedlock, and I wouldn't be surprised if there were an unmarried cohabiting couple somewhere. They're usually there as a secret to be revealed, though, if that's your point, not as an accepted part of village life. Actually, the more I post about this, the more I realise I've changed my mind. It is exceptionally stupid to keep Midsomer White, whether or not it's a make-believe world with only a veneer of realism. That veneer should include ethnic minority characters. Recommend? (3) Report abuse

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killerontheroad 17 March 2011 11:15AM I suppose that, as the "last bastion of Englishness", MIdsommer is also Judenfrei, nein? Recommend? (4) Report abuse

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rusticred 17 March 2011 11:19AM I suppose that, as the "last bastion of Englishness", MIdsommer is also Judenfrei, nein? Does it matter? If these guys want to live in lala land its their business. Recommend? (1) Report abuse

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notwaving 17 March 2011 11:21AM

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Part of the problem of the 'it's pc-gone-mad-brigade' is that they don't understand or haven't noticed, how stories on MM are constructed. Although located in various villages, the protagonists frequently come from OUTSIDE the setting. Why is it an assault on 'Englishness' to have, say, during an episode when a Famous Writer turns up to a literary festival, or a retiring rock star moves in with their band, to include non-white characters? Or lower down the pay scale, why could you not, in episodes set in retirement homes (of which there have been many) include a non-white nurse/or therapist or two? Or how about some Eastern European farm hands? Nobody would seriously suggest that the answer to a lack of racial diversity is to crowbar a black family into a white setting and pretend nobody would notice. But to have a colour bar that prohibits characters that originate from outside the community setting from being anything other than white is clearly racist. Badly done Midsomer Murders, badly done. Recommend? (19) Report abuse

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Inaya 17 March 2011 11:24AM Nwhitfield yes people do. Please see the furor caused by there being too many ethnic minorities on Dr Who ( especially martha being black), the hatred of Gwen in Merlin who is non white( of course complaints drawn for it, is because its not "realistic" yet they see no irony that the series is about a magician in a legend), too many non whites in cbeebies and so on. People like to see themselves in television. Non white people have to watch white people on television practically from birth and so there is no problem relating to what is on screen. When it is the other way though, it becomes a "problem" The problem with people like Tindella and the language they use "political correctness" is that it is in essence a word created as a reactionary term. The percieved loss of what they feel is the dominant values ( white, middle class) as people attempt to highlight awareness and to use mediums such as television to actually represent reality. Using terms like "PC", or "race card" is a way to silence people. Tindella a lot of white people live in Harlem and The UK is not like India,. You are actually just highlighting your ignorance. I would say that what tTrue- May said was utterly racist. As he himself said, no one had complained that MM was all white, his superiors had never taken him to task on it and i've never heard anyone decry the lack of non white people on it. Yet he had to boast about himself never ever using them and that it was the "last bastion of englishness", yet all this is being ignored and comments are stated as if suddenly the ITV bosses want to stick thousands of non white people in there. Thats not even the story. Whats funny is how angry people are at this man being called on about his comments and twisting it to suit their own agenda. You can not have an honest conversation about things liek this in this country because then "its PC

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GONE MAD" or "PLAYING THE RACE CARD". Get over yourself. Recommend? (26) Report abuse

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davidabsalom 17 March 2011 11:30AM It would be nice if TV could break away from naturalism once in a while. Recommend? (0) Report abuse

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nabokov1 17 March 2011 11:31AM It's really the 'last bastion' phrase that gives it away...it implies a longing for a non-ethnic-minority world, and unfortunately as such IS pretty racist, I'm afraid. Recommend? (20) Report abuse

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Victoriatheoldgoth 17 March 2011 11:40AM @daisyr and TV writer - there's a happy and loving and universally accepted lesbian couple in one of the Agatha Christie Miss Marples (I haven't read the novel, but they were in both the Joan Hickson BBC adaptation and the recent ITV one, so I presume they are both faithful to the book). Something no-one seems to have mentioned is the lack of working-class characters in any of these. I tried to think of one, and all I could come up with was a gardener in one of the Morses who wears his public school tie as a belt and is basically Monty Don. Recommend? (4) Report abuse

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mike65ie 17 March 2011 11:42AM

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Is anyone here aware of Brian True-May having a "history" with regard to race and nationality? Recommend? (1) Report abuse

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FatFrank 17 March 2011 11:46AM @AlexNeedham "I find the arguments against colour-blind casting bizarre. I hate to break it to you, but what you're seeing on the stage or on screen isn't actually real. It's people pretending. Once you accept that, of course you can have a black Mr Darcy (or a white Othello)." We all know it isn't real. But we want what we see on stage or screen to look real, don't we? That's why we have sets and costumes and make-up. Your argument is: "It's just pretend anyway so authenticity doesn't matter". But *of course* authenticity matters. The *whole point* of drama is to create convincing fakery. Unless we're doing Brecht or being deliberately and cleverly self-conscious and playful, we want audiences to forget that they're watching actors reciting other people's words in front of wooden sets. Especially so in the case of Sunday night ITV escapism or a BBC costume drama. Otherwise it would be fine if everything looked like Acorn Antiques. There would be no such thing as bad casting or bad acting or good and bad anything. I think a white Othello has been done - but with a black Iago. An all-white (or all-black) Othello, in which all the characters looked exactly the same, would be stupid. People look different. That's only a problem if you're a dim racist or a silly squeamish liberal. Recommend? (8) Report abuse

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OYOY 17 March 2011 11:51AM I read that Lynval Golding and Neville Staple from the Specials are joining Suggs, Monsieur Barso and the rest of the Camden Town Nutty Boys to form a new supergroup... Honestly. It's Madness gone politically correct! Recommend? (9) Report abuse

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wonderblog

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17 March 2011 12:03PM Theatre doesn't always get away with it. A friend of mine recently went to see Billy Elliott the musical and reported that the play was ruined by the casting of a young Chinese Billy who had a very Western family. She spent the evening wondering whether this Billy was meant to be adopted and whether his being adopted and Chinese made him feel more excluded than his desire to be a dancer. Or how realistic it was that a young adopted Chinese man, who must already been feeling different enough, would then further that sense of exclusion by taking up ballet. Had his family also been Chinese, it wouldn't have crossed her mind. The issue was never addressed, of course, which made it even more maddening. She left feeling rather insulted by the producers, especially since they gone to great lengths to make the rest of the production feel real. Recommend? (4) Report abuse

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SleeplessinSuffolk 17 March 2011 12:22PM Oh I so agree Mark, I look forward to seeing somebody like Bill Nighy playing Nelson Mandela in a movie/play/TV programme & nobody notices that he is white. Recommend? (3) Report abuse

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silverhawk 17 March 2011 12:28PM I don’t care that Midsomer is all white, I find it more bizarre that only one asian family exists in walford. I do think BTM’s comments are highly suspect thou. I think the bigger point is how many other itv drama’s are headed by non-white actors? I can’t think of one off the top of my head. If the beeb didn’t have Luther last year and I suppose Hustle, I would be struggling with them also, and don’t even get me started on channel 4. James Nesbitt is a wonderful actor, but would itv have seriously opted for a non white actor in Monroe? For some reason I watched Jim Davidson on newsnight the other week, he made one good point, something along the lines of some comedians get away with what he does in the guise of it being ironic. Kind of made me think of how acceptable “blacking up” has become once more, I never did get Papa Lazarou from The league of Gentlemen or Matt Lucus in Little Britain and Come Fly with Me when he does it. Non white actors are marginalised in quite a lot of drama output, whilst at the same time offensive stereotypes are being reclaimed as ironic, all in a climate of pompous, egotistical back lashing against the “PC brigade” and “race relations”

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Pagey 17 March 2011 12:35PM Midsomer is like a Blyton theme-park. Recommend? (0) Report abuse

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MarcBurrows 17 March 2011 12:38PM @silverhawk Kind of made me think of how acceptable “blacking up” has become once more, I never did get Papa Lazarou from The league of Gentlemen or Matt Lucus in Little Britain and Come Fly with Me when he does it. Slight dash off topic to say- the difference is Lucas/Walliams are blacking up to play stereotyped black people, which has some very iffy connotations. Reece Shearsmith as Papa Lazarou was blacking up to play a blacked up character, and was a sort of surreal, grotesque extreme, so the implacations are more absurd, and much more self aware. True-May wouldn't have let him anywhere near Roysten Vasey though, just to be sure. Recommend? (7) Report abuse

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Jamie24 17 March 2011 12:49PM AlexNeedham I find the arguments against colour-blind casting bizarre. I hate to break it to you, but what you're seeing on the stage or on screen isn't actually real. It's people pretending. Once you accept that, of course you can have a black Mr Darcy (or a white Othello). I find this a very weak argument. Yes, its people pretending, but that's not the point. The point is that the audience should believe it's real. Things that break the illusion of reality will leave an audience dissatisfied.

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Colour-blind casting is not objective. You have to take it on a case by case basis to see if it would work. What would be the point, for example, of having a white (not 'blacked up') Othello? Or how could you have a Muslim family on Eastenders played by non-Asians? I would suggest that 'colour blind' is a misnoma and what we are really talking about is deliberate, positive discrimination in favour of ethnic groups. I see nothing necessarily wrong with that. But I just hate having my intelligence insulted by people who use euphemism and who are not prepared to call a spade a spade. Recommend? (2) Report abuse

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Skinz 17 March 2011 12:50PM Midsomer Murders is a cutting edge satire of the Little Englander mentality (think of it as Brave New World with old people). Everyone in it is white, middle aged and middle class. There are very people under the age of 40 and even fewer children in the county of Midsomer. Others have pointed out it has a muder rate higher than the worst South American cities; motives and means that are often sheer fantasy (wines bottles thrown from a trebuchet is the comonly given example) - these are all running gags so how can anyone think its suppossed to be taken seriously? Even the 'new' Inspector Barnaby is played by someone who peviously appeared in the programme as a randy gardener who tried to seduce Joyce Barnaby. Producer Brian True-May might not get the joke, but the writers and cast do. Recommend? (2) Report abuse

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shiv 17 March 2011 1:06PM All right, let's see a black Austen. It might be interesting and fresh. I once saw an all black production of The Importance of Being Earnest. I enjoyed it a lot, thought it brought something new to the text, and was a worthwhile cultural experiment. Recommend? (2) Report abuse

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tormentedspace 17 March 2011 1:10PM

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TV matters: Mark Lawson on Midsomer Murders | Televi...

http://www.guardian.co.uk/tv-and-radio/2011/mar/17/tv-...

The BBC already tried a colour blind costume drama (in some respects) when it showed its adaptations of Philip Pullman's novels The Ruby in the Smoke and Shadow in the North. This was set in the Victorian era and featured non-white actors in several roles. Recommend? (1) Report abuse

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kendrew 17 March 2011 1:25PM I would pay big money to see an all white cast Porgy and Bess; what amazes me about this storm in an afternoon teacup is the fact that the programme is about as representative as Noddy in fucking Toyland. No I take that back as I remember that Enid did include token blacks albeit they were cast as the bad guys. Could we look forward to a white Othello, no they usually black up don't they; where will it end? If it means programming in tokenism that distorts rather than represents then what is the point? I have lived in London all of my adult life, my wife is half Jewish and my immediate neighbours are African, West Indian, Croation, Polish and Russian, oh and god forbid Welsh. That said I have never counted a black person as a friend or work colleague and I am not sure if that has been a concious decision on my part or just my bad luck. Recommend? (0) Report abuse

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