The Guardian reports here that BBC Governor Samir Shah reckons the BBC has over-compensated for its ethnic deficit in the boardroom by overdoing it with brown faces on tv. He reckon that the BBC tends to go for “deracinated” minorities. I guess that means they could be from anywhere. Although he didn’t use it, the term “coconut” comes to mind. EastEnders’ Ferriera family are criticised for not being Bengali.
It’s only three years ago that BBC governors were reported as branding the corporation’s sitcoms as “too white, middle, class and cosy“. Is this new outburst a reaction to changed circumstances? Shah reckons that minority ethnic folk rarely populate the corporation’s higher echelons. He says:
“Despite 30 years of trying, the upper reaches of our industry, the positions of real creative power in British broadcasting, are still controlled by a metropolitan, largely liberal, white, middle-class, cultural elite – and, until recently, largely male and largely Oxbridge.”
Of course it’s possible to be ethnic and all of the above bar white. The whole debate including the outrage of the televisual portrayal a non-Bangladeshi Asian East-End family brings up the whole vexed question of “the burden of representation” that I’ve spouted forth on before. One wonders whether Harriet Harman’s new proposals will make any impact on thus one. Interesting too in the light of Will Parbury’s recent comments on BBC leftwing bias being a myth.