Archive for March, 2011

March 15, 2011

Are UK broadcasters racist and Xenophobic?

I am hoping not, but the recent comments made by Brian True-May (radio Times) about the lack of ethnic minorities being featured in ITV’s Midsomer Murders reinforces this notion. I find Mr. True-May’s assumption that the only reason the show is so popular is because it includes no ethnic minorities absolutely ludicrous. Has he considered that had producers included a wider, more diverse cast, the show could actually have achieved even higher ratings? Also, I would question his ‘certain type of audience’ and ‘last bastion of Englishness’ comments. By this does he mean a whites-only audience that takes offence to multi-ethnic cast members, and last bastion as in, whites only English? Can Mr. May then please answer me this; why are ethnic minorities then expected to pay a license fee to watch terrestrial TV when executives like him exclude ethnic representation, not because the story requires it, but because he is on a mission to serve a white-only audience.
I don’t mind paying the license fee if the channels we receive on a terrestrial service are serving the needs of everyone. However comments like his compound the case that the fee should be scrapped and people should be allowed to vote with their wallets and only pay for what they want to watch. I think Mr. True-May would get a better perspective of audience ratings if terrestrial TV producers had to fight on an even platform with smaller digital channels for every single viewer.
A word of advice to producers and broadcasters to appoint people of multicultural heritage on their boards and executives so such nonsense would not happen again.

Saad Saraf, CEO multicultural marketing consultancy Mediareach & Chair of the IPA Ethnic Diversity Group.