PITY the poor BBC. It bends over backwards to accommodate the inclusiveness and diversity lobby – but there’s just no pleasing some people.
A case in point is Luther, the highly popular detective series starring the multi-award-winning Idris Elba.
The corporation has spent a big chunk of our licence money bringing to our screens the crime drama, with a lead black character who’s intelligent, attractive, strong and charismatic.
All well and good, they were probably smugly thinking in the upper echelons of Broadcasting House – we’ve ticked every box. But then along comes someone who alarmingly declares: ‘Luther’s not black enough to be authentic.’
Unfortunately for the Beeb’s bosses, the critic happens to be its own Head of Creative Diversity, Miranda Wayland. She says of Luther: ‘He doesn’t have any black friends, he doesn’t eat any Caribbean food, this doesn’t feel authentic.’
Ms Wayland told a television marketing conference that to achieve true representation, TV chiefs must ensure black characters have an environment and culture built around them that is completely reflective of their background.
The Beeb tut-tutted a little about her assertion, on the lines that it is doing its best, but its reaction was muted.
Yet you can be sure that if anyone else in the corporation had made such a sweeping statement about what black people should eat, or what sort of friends they should have – even in the context of a fictional character – there’d be hell to pay. The culprit would be sent on an awareness course quicker than you could say ‘racial stereotyping’.
Despite this embarrassing hiccup, the Beeb will doubtless keep striving to placate the progressive and politically correct. It’s already spending £100 million on a 20 per cent TV ‘diversity content’ quota, with a focus on those from BAME backgrounds. Meanwhile, viewers and listeners dismayed by its increasingly off-putting offerings are ditching it in growing numbers.
But no matter how hard the corporation tries to pander to the woke lobbies, it will find it can never satisfy them – they will always want more. It will have to keep feeding the tiger and hope it does not get eaten.
Just as Luther is purportedly not authentically black enough, the BBC for some can never be authentically diverse enough.