This week in TV-land one Black British actor gets suspended, while another wins a high-profile new role, the BBC get in hot water over the G word, while their breakfast team get happy, and Google admits to being male and pale.

EastEnders star Khali Best has been suspended from the soap

khali-best-Khali Best, the 26-year-old actor who plays Dexter Hartman on the BBC One programme, has been suspended for three months, it has been revealed.Details of exactly why the actor, who recently won the National Television Award for best newcomer, has been reprimanded are yet to be revealed.Best has previously been nominated at the British Soap Awards and won an Inside Soap award for best newcomer.He first appeared in EastEnders in January 2013, playing the grandson of Cora Cross and son of Ava Hartman. The character works as a mechanic in Phil Mitchell’s garage and has featured in storylines involving his friendships with Jay Brown and Lola Pearce.
A major plot involved his relationship with his estranged father, Sam James, who tracked him down to ask him to donate a kidney.
We look forward to Khali’s return.


Sophie to star as queen in BBC’s Shakespeare spin-offs
Sophie Okonedo

After bringing you the news last week of Marianne Jean Baptiste’s return to the UK for a high profile role, here comes another one.

Sophie Okonedo will star in the next series of The Hollow Crown as the queen who curses Benedict Cumberbatch’s Richard III.

The actress will play Queen Margaret in the three BBC TV films that will encapsulate Shakespeare’s Henry VI trilogy and Richard III. As Henry VI’s widow, she rails against cruel Richard’s bloody actions and curses him and his offspring. She’s determined to do him down because he killed her husband.
Ms Okonedo will take on the role once her run in A Raisin In The Sun ends on Broadway on June 15.  The production, which also features Denzel Washington, has garnered Tony nominations for Sophie and her co-stars LaTanya Richardson Jackson and Anika Noni Rose.





BBC criticised for removal of the G Word.

Mark BeaumontFor the last few months we have been reporting various BBC employees getting into hot water over the use of the ‘N’ word.  Now another word is attracting heat at the Beeb. Only this time, the dispute involves the rather less offensive term … ‘girl’.
The corporation was accused of censorship after cutting the ‘G-word’ from a documentary on the Commonwealth Games.
During the programme, presenter Mark Beaumont, 31, (pictured right)  was flung to the ground by a young judo champion, and joked: ‘I am not sure I can live that down – being beaten by a 19-year-old-girl.’
His remarks were aired in full when the documentary, called The Queen’s Baton Relay, was first broadcast on the BBC News Channel in April. But fearing viewers might take offence, the corporation decided to edit out the word ‘girl’ when it was repeated last week.
Feminist novelist Kathy Lette criticised the corporations’s decision, saying: ‘If the athlete didn’t find it upsetting, why should the BBC mount their politically correct high horse and gallop off into the sanctimonious sunset?’
I’d agree that the Beeb is going a little over the top here.  If they are really concerned about their female viewers, why not employ some more female executives?



Footballer puts foot in mouth on Question Time.
That use of the G word might not be deemed offensive by most, but Joey Barton’s use of it on Question Time certainly was. The QPR midfielder was an invited guest on BBC’s political panel show. Barton, who admitted reading a ‘Politics for Dummies’ book before going on air, was dubbed ‘football’s philosopher king’ by host David Dimbleby. But when discussing the rise of UKIP, and describing the party as the best of a bad bunch, Barton elaborated that “If I’m somewhere and there was four really ugly girls, I’m thinking she’s not the worst – that’s all UKIP are”.

Incase you missed his eloquent political insight, here it is again.



Tech industry also suffers from a lack of diversity.
We all know how male and pale the TV industry is, but so is big business, politics, and the tech industry. In a groundbreaking disclosure, Google revealed last week how very white and male its workforce is — just 2 percent of its Google employees are Black, 3 percent are Hispanic, and only 30 percent are women. About a third of the company’s workforce is Asian.
The search giant said the transparency about its workforce is an important step toward change. The numbers were compiled as part of a report that major U.S. employers must file with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
“We’re the first to admit that Google is miles from where we want to be, and that being totally clear about the extent of the problem is a really important part of the solution,” said Google Inc. senior vice president Laszlo Bock.
Companies are not required to make the information public. Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg recently said the social networking company is headed toward disclosure as well, but it was important to share the data internally first. Apple, Twitter and Microsoft Corp. have so far made it known if they will make similar disclosures.
Iris Gardner, a manager at nonprofit Code2040, which places high performing black and Latino software engineering students in internships with top tech companies, said Google’s disclosure could mark a pivotal moment in the push to diversify Silicon Valley.
“It is a big deal for them to be transparent about something that most companies haven’t in the past been willing to share,” she said.


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

Super-producer Pharrell was doing the media rounds in the UK last week, appearing on both the BBC Breakfast and Channel 4 News.  The BBC Breakfast team were so pleased to have him, that they even made their own version of the ‘Happy’ video. Or maybe they were just celebrating the fact they are consistently beating their high paid former colleague Susanna Reid in the ratings.



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

Lee Pinkerton