Racists Attack Australian and British TV – Neighbours is “Too White”

Neighbours TV show ‘too white’

The Daily Telegraph | 17 July 2008


HIT Australian TV soap Neighbours in which Kylie Minogue first found fame has been branded “too white” by black and Asian viewers in Britain.

A report by the nation’s racial equality chief found many ethnic viewers felt were under-represented in some of Britain’s most popular shows.

Neighbours, which is screened on the Five network, and the BBC comedy The Vicar of Dibley starring Dawn French were singled out for being “all white”.

Other popular soaps including the BBC’s Eastenders and ITV’s Coronation Street also came under attack for including stereotypical characters such as Asian shopkeepers and black single mums.

However reality TV shows including the X Factor and Strictly Come Dancing were commended because people who appeared on those shows were defined by their talent not their ethnicity.

Equality and Human Rights Commission chairman Trevor Phillips said many of Britain’s major broadcasters remained “hideously white” when choosing programs.

“I don’t think anybody here is saying British TV is racist,” Phillips said.

“There are minority faces on TV, but it’s that we’re not quite getting it right, because we do not really have any minority decision makers.

“White people who live next door to Asian neighbours will see a representation of an ethnic minority family and they will say, ‘I don’t think so, it doesn’t ring true with the people I know’.”

The report was commissioned by Channel 4 following last year’s race row involving reality show Celebrity Big Brother.

During the program, screened early in 2007, Bollywood star Shilpa Shetty found herself under attack from two fellow female contestants.

A senior non-executive BBC director, Dr Samir Shah, also recently accused the public broadcaster of rampant tokenism in its programs.

The following comment was rejected by the editors of The Daily Telegraph.

Perhaps this is where we single out certain American TV shows for being too black? Human Rights and Equal Opportunities should look into the fact that importers and sponsers of certain American TV and music shows remain hideously black when choosing programs. Television is already devoid of talented acting. Employing actors based on race rather than talent will only make it worse. Time to throw the TV out the window.

Cailen Cambeul, Adelaide.