BBC axe falls on BME heads!

There is barely a week that passes that we don’t comment on the ethnic diversity of the workforce at the BBC.  And this week is no exception.  Whilst the execs at the top keep making nice commitments to make the networks more representative of the UK population, in real life things seem to be going backwards – in radio as well as TV.

Last week a group of media players and MPs including friend of the TVC Pat Younge, wrote to senior bosses at the BBC urging them not to axe a key journalistic post dedicated to covering African and Caribbean stories. The losing of this post will not just mean one more Black person joining the dole queue, but will also affect the quality of the news stories of the African Caribbean programmes on BBC local radio nationwide. To see the letter click on the link to OBV site here.

kurt barling

And in the same week we heard that one of the BBC’s most senior Black journalist Kurt Barling has also been let go. Barling, left the BBC after more than 24 years with the Corporation and hit out at his bosses at the Corporation after being told he is being made redundant as part of Lord Hall’s ‘Delivering Quality First’ cuts.

As well as working for all the news bulletins, The Money Programme, Newsnight and Money Box, he presented a string of documentaries including one about the murder of PC Keith Blakelock in the 1985 Broadwater Farm riots in Tottenham.

 ‘It beats me why the BBC has brought my news contribution to a premature close at a time when national debate is crying out for greater diversity and experience on screen and behind it,” said Barling to the Daily Mail. “‘BAME  people on screen are as important as BAME people in a police uniform.

Barling’s sacking came on the eve of a newspaper interview with BBC strategy chief James Purnell, in which he said: ‘We are still too white.’

Seems to me like the BBC management speak with forked tongue!!


London Live launches

In complete contrast, the new TV station for London launched last week.  And regardless of what you think of the quality of the programming, it is certainly doing a better job of representing the capital’s diversity. How often do you see three women and a non-white man ( on Not the One Show)  on a panel discussion show on traditional television? Some argue that  London Live has made a stand on diversity which will shame its rivals.  So far they have screened Brothers With No Game and All About The Mckenzies two comedy-dramas that started life on YouTube that we at the TVC have been championing since last year.

Samuell Benta's All About The Mckenzie's PosterThough London Evening Standard hailed the launch as ‘A NEW TV ERA’ London Live is in fact, the third launch of the 19 community TV stations. Although due to the nature of the media in this country, it is London Live that will get all the media attention.  We wish them the best of luck. After all, we all need somewhere to go when the Beeb slams the door in our faces!

Trisha’s follows Piers

TrishaGoddard460You know how everyone’s always talking about Black British actors having to go over to the states to get work?  Well apparently TV hosts are doing it as well.  Remember Trisha Goddard? Host of daytime chat shows in the 90’s she was supposed to be the UK’s answer to Oprah.  Sadly, Oprah style global media domination did not follow her UK TV show, and apparently she went to try her luck in the States, resulting in her own chat show on US channel NBC. Who knew? But just as we discover where she’s been these last couple of years, we now hear she’s suffered the same fate as Piers Morgan and been dropped due to poor ratings.  Our advice Trish is to stay hustling out there, cos not much happening over here!


And finally for, The Funniest Thing I’ve Seen On-line This Week.

The new season of Game of Thrones is upon us, and apparently lots of people are very excited. To get you in the mood it you’re a fan, or just to give you a laugh if you’re not, check the spoof summary of the series so far from those funny guys at Honest Trailers.

That’s all for this week, but if you just can’t hang on for seven days to get your next fix of TV  industry news, check our facebook page for daily updates.


Lee Pinkerton