BBC BLOGS - Mark Easton's UK
IN ASSOCIATION WITH
« Previous | Main | Next »

Midsomer race row

Mark Easton | 13:13 UK time, Tuesday, 15 March 2011

The county of Midsomer is, we are told, "the last bastion of Englishness". It is a fictional place set in the present but exhibiting the characteristics of the past - the villages fall victim to medieval levels of violent crime and the residents are exclusively white.

Midsomer Murders

Neil Dudgeon (centre) will take over the central character when the new series begins

Now we learn that one of the creators of ITV's popular detective series Midsomer Murders, Brian True-May, has been suspended for arguing that the lack of cultural diversity on the programme is because "it wouldn't be the English village" if it included ethnic minorities. "It just wouldn't work", he told the Radio Times.

It is interesting that Mr True-May should pick on this word "Englishness" to describe his vision of the rural village because it was exactly the same word that emerged from research into rural attitudes to race in England conducted by academics at Leicester University.

Neil Chakraborti and Jon Garland recently published a paper entitled Tackling Rural Racism that used interviews and focus groups to explore the views of white rural residents. It found that "the rural was also often referred to as being the embodiment of 'Englishness'".

"Unfortunately, all too often racist or xenophobic comments were evidenced in the interviews and focus groups, and victims frequently related how they were made to feel unwelcome or were ostracised as 'outsiders'."

Although ethnic minorities are less prevalent in England's rural communities (estimated at around 1.4% compared to 8% or so nationally), the English countryside is certainly not exclusively white. This has led to some concern that those BME residents living in the equivalent of Midsomer may be an invisible group, air-brushed from community life in the same way that black and brown faces are excluded from the cast of Midsomer Murders.

Twenty years ago, the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) published a ground-breaking report into attitudes to race in the largely rural South West of England. Keep Them In Birmingham [119KB PDF] took its title from a remark made by a white student on a Plymouth construction course interviewed for the project. The CRE said the findings painted "a disturbing picture of racial prejudice and discrimination directed against ethnic minority residents" in the region.

"What unquestionably exacerbates the problem by reinforcing local prejudice is the presence in the region of large numbers of white migrants from other regions who regard themselves as refugees from multiracialism. In the approving words of a county councillor and college governor: 'People have come here because they want to get away from the problems caused by the coloureds.'"

In 2003 the Observer newspaper interrogated police records of racist incidents to see where they suggested cultural tensions were most acute. "Race attacks are almost 10 times more likely to happen in rural areas" the paper concluded.

"Northumbria tops the list, but is closely followed by Devon, Cornwall and south Wales, where racial crimes affect 1 in 15 and 1 in 16 of the ethnic minority population. Other race crime hotspots are Norfolk, Avon and Somerset, Durham and Cumbria. Between them, the top 10 worst areas in England and Wales for racist incidents are home to just five per cent of the total ethnic minority population."

It is almost a truism to say that those places which are less familiar with ethnic minorities are more likely to be disturbed by their presence. When the Carnegie Trust recently put together its Manifesto for Rural Communities [1.02MB PDF], the report noted that many such places "are poorly equipped to respond to 'newcomers', whether they are minority ethnic households/individuals, migrants or indeed immigrants from urban areas. Local communities are often not aware of 'what it is like for newcomers' and 'newcomers' are often unaware of the culture of the local areas they have moved into."

The 2010 annual report [2.56MB PDF] from Dorset's Racial Equality Council also makes the point that the problems of exclusion and prejudice for ethnic minorities in rural communities have not gone away. "The work that we have done during the last year demonstrated that there has never been a greater need than now", adding that response to a new advocacy project "confirmed our long held belief that many in our communities suffer in silence and are not challenging racist or discriminatory behaviour".

When the New Statesman commissioned an article on rural attitudes to race in 2006, they spoke to Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones, a former colleague of mine at the BBC who now runs a pig farm on the Devon/Cornwall borders and markets sausages under the brand The Black Farmer.

"Our parents established beachheads in the cities; it is now up to our generation to move out of those beachheads and claim the rest of Britain as our own" he told the magazine. "If we wait for the climate to change, we will wait for ever."

The theory that the arrival of ethnic minorities and migrant workers will, over time, diminish racist attitudes in the English countryside is matched by a counter-concern that it will increase tensions. It may be that the success of Midsomer Murders, as Brian True-May suggests, relies in part upon its "whiteness", but it paints a portrait of rural England at odds with changing times.

The Leicester University academics Jon Garland and Neil Chakraborti recently put it like this:

"Rural villages are often portrayed as problem-free, idyllic environments characterized by neighbourliness and cultural homogeneity."

The reality, they suggest, is that:

"[V]illage space is not neutral but is instead racialized and contested, and that it is feelings of insecurity among white rural populations, exacerbated by the presence of a markedly different `other', that results in the marginalization of minority ethnic groups from mainstream community activities."

To me, that sounds like an intriguing backdrop to an episode of Midsomer Murders...

Comments

or register to comment.

  • 1. At 2:10pm on 15 Mar 2011, cping500 wrote:

    David Cameron said the other day that "what defines us as a society, to belong here, is to believe in freedom of speech, freedom of worship, democracy, the rule of law, equal rights regardless of race, sex or sexuality.

    I suspect few in the county share his beliefs or commitment. Sometimes I am not sure he does either.

    Complain about this comment

  • 2. At 2:35pm on 15 Mar 2011, John_from_Hendon wrote:

    Midsomer is just as much a fantasy as Marple, Poirot , Pride and Prejudice or The Importance of Bieng Ernest. True, Midsomer is the most murderous place on earth, but the thing is fiction. I really do not see it as bastion of Englishness at all. It is a fairy story where the guilty always get punished just before the closing titles for their misdeeds. Like many dramas those involved get too involved and forget they are telling stories - they get above themselves. I do recall an episode that featured an idealised horse and cart using traveller community, so although the skin colour is very white some other communities do appear - but the one thing that is certain is that all shades of wickedness are shown..

    Brian True-May should not have said what he did, nor should he have thought it, but he did and now that the error in his stores are in the open he will have to get rather more real. I fear however the response will be stock ethnic minority characters as caricatures, just like the normal Midsomer players. One of the reasons I do not like Midsomer much is this cartoon like thin nature of the players - they are not very interesting and I can't 'like' any of them - either victims or killers. Another of the reasons I do not like Midsomer much is the present day setting. The Agatha Christie adaptations are set in a more glamorous but reasonably recent past where design and set dressing is more important - with the art and style of the thirties.

    It really depends on what drama is designed to be about - escapism or gritty reality. The glossy musicals of the thirties and forties were mass appeal films - they brought glamour and escapism to grim lives. I actually think the Midsomer is past its sell by date. (I must say I am also fed up with the Morse/Lewis franchise too. Ditto Rose & Thyme.) ITV has found that the very much more expensive Downton gets bigger audiences than Midsomer, but it is more expensive. However Downton could be similarly criticised. The BBC's Up/Downstairs too.

    I think that when these very long running series get too long in the tooth they should be put down and new writers with new ideas and new genres tried - what has happened to the one off play (pilot) episode? Where is the adventurism of the buyers - why can't they get away from the old formulaic dramas? Our present day TV drama has echoes of Eastern European Iron Curtain TV with the same actors playing different parts each week! Too often the pool of talent on and off screen is too limited.

    Complain about this comment

  • 3. At 2:39pm on 15 Mar 2011, 1978 Shoot league ladders wrote:

    I would not expect there to be lots of ethnic minorities in MM but to have none at all ever is really rather ridiculous. But I guess certain people don't see a person, they see their ethnicity and little else.

    The Daily Mail crowd can claim they're being 'persecuted' now that True-May has been suspended and once again the offenders can paint themselves as victims.

    Complain about this comment

  • 4. At 2:48pm on 15 Mar 2011, Mubbers wrote:

    The issue is this:
    1. If there were ethnic characters included in Midsomer now and they were the murderers... we would hear complaints that once again ethnic minoirties are being cast in a bad light.
    2. If they were the victims... "why are they always the victims".
    3. If they appear in the background... "token black!".
    4. Or ho-hum another black female Police Superintendent.
    Of course maybe I am being paranoid but how come it's OK to have the "Asian Network" or MOBO (Music of Black Origin) Awards yet not OK to have just one, just one single ethnically white programme?
    I live in rural Scotland and there is one black person living in a 5 mile radius of this place. A small town about 7 miles away has a few asian and chinese people manning the local takeaways.
    So to be accurate should we install ethnic characters in the fastfood joints of Midsomer only? I doubt this would be acceptable to the PC brigade.
    This whole debate is farcical and racist more towards white people than otherwise.

    Complain about this comment

  • 5. At 2:50pm on 15 Mar 2011, Llareggub_2 wrote:

    I am Welsh, that is, if I were younger, I would qualify to play for the Welsh rugby team. My grandfather was Welsh, my parents came back to live in Wales almost 50 years ago, but I was born in England. I've also spent the time since 1968 serving overseas. I don't speak welsh, although I am learning. I'm still considered an outsider.
    I can understand the plight of the outsider very well, since I've been one in Jamaica, Australia and Colombia. I do find it a bit hard to come HOME and be an outsider though.
    To some of the locals I'm just a saxon, and it's very difficult to convince them that I'm not.

    Complain about this comment

  • 6. At 2:54pm on 15 Mar 2011, Peter_Sym wrote:

    My in-laws live near the village of Midsomer Norton in Somerset which must be as close to a real 'Midsomer' as you can get. I live in central Nottingham. Central Nottingham is 40% ethnic. Midsomer Norton seems 100% white. A drama set in inner city Nottingham will need a cast nearly 50% black to be credible. A cast 50% black in rural Somerset will be ridiculous. For the producer of Midsomer murders to be suspended pending investigation for basically saying as much is outrageous. Presumably when ethnic characters ARE shoehorned into the programme they can't be the murderers either as that would be racist too?

    Complain about this comment

  • 7. At 2:57pm on 15 Mar 2011, joffonon wrote:

    "one of the creator's".

    Ahem.

    Complain about this comment

  • 8. At 2:58pm on 15 Mar 2011, watriler wrote:

    I dont recognise the image of an English village in the regular event of double and triple murders by near and actual psychotic, inbred, aspiring 'gentry' frustrated and ageing residents seemingly all with the same accents! But it sometimes makes fascinating viewing much of which is attributable to J Nettles after retiring from Jersey. It would be exciting had they replaced Nettles with a black face subject to all the overt and covert discrimination and prejudice the academics from Leicester refer to.
    A pushy Asian copper from that diverse city would have been ideal Mr. True-May!

    Complain about this comment

  • 9. At 3:06pm on 15 Mar 2011, DanVandenBurg wrote:

    Another strike by fundamentalist PCism.

    Not every show has to have ethnic minorities in it. Or maybe I should say majorities and it is becoming that way. If it is true that most little villages are mostly white inhabited then what is wrong with it being so on TV? At any rate it is a fantasy setting, noone told Tolkein he had to have black hobbits although someone tried to.

    Complain about this comment

  • 10. At 3:14pm on 15 Mar 2011, de rigueur wrote:

    So Brian True-May is going to be hounded by a few hacks and politicos for telling the truth? Perhaps I can shock further by daring to say that events like Black History Month are a total waste of public money. Do the majority of the public want it? No! Is the tail yet again wagging the dog? Yes! Look out chaps, here come the thought police...

    Complain about this comment

  • 11. At 3:17pm on 15 Mar 2011, jayfurneaux wrote:

    Unless people are subject to a wide range of influences and experiences (as many in our cities are) there is an inherent human tendency for people to be narrow minded and suspicious of and hostile towards strangers. The less like ‘them’ any new arrivals are the stronger the suspicion and hostility.

    It doesn’t just apply to race; I’ve known villages in Cornwall, only a few miles apart, where the inhabitants are actively suspicious of each other. Mind you, some villages in Cornwall only got electricity in the 1970s.

    “David Cameron said the other day that "what defines us as a society, to belong here, is to believe in freedom of speech, freedom of worship, democracy, the rule of law, equal rights regardless of race, sex or sexuality.” #1

    It’s an important point to uphold and I’m glad Cameron said it.

    Respect for the rights of others is a cornerstone of a truly democratic society.
    That means allowing individuals the right to their beliefs, values, and lifestyle, even though they may differ from your own. Also believing that each individual in our society is entitled to their convictions and freedoms as long as they do not harm others, wish to harm others or to prevent them from exercising their rights. It also means the right of others to disagree with you, again providing they do not harm others, wish to harm others or to prevent them from exercising their rights.

    “I suspect few in the county share his beliefs or commitment”. #1

    Actually when push comes to shove I think you’d find a strong majority do; go down the opposite path and it leads to dictatorship.

    Complain about this comment

  • 12. At 3:18pm on 15 Mar 2011, jamyesterday wrote:

    'Freedom of speech', you say. Not something the BBC holds with judging the level of censorship applied to posts 3 to 8 inclusive.

    Rural communities in which there are no immigrants do exist. Why should they not be be used as basis for nostalgic drama? Would a producer be obliged to include ethnic white British in a drama about an all Pakistani street in Bradford? Would he be described as racist if he said that to do so would reduce the effect he was wishing to create?

    Complain about this comment

  • 13. At 3:23pm on 15 Mar 2011, Peter_Sym wrote:

    I wonder what the reaction would be if a drama was to be shown that had some black concentration camp guards pushing Jews into the gas chambers?
    Then the fact that the SS was 100% white (although it did have 20,000 Bosnian muslims in its ranks) would doubtless be used to suggest how ridiculous the idea was. You can't have it both ways.

    Complain about this comment

  • 14. At 3:26pm on 15 Mar 2011, Peter_Sym wrote:

    #4 I basically agree but its the ORIGIN in MOBO (music of black origin) that makes me disagree with that part of your post. There are plenty of white musicians who qualify & are awarded a Mobo. Its hardly racist when Plan B (who's whiter than I am) wins one.

    Complain about this comment

  • 15. At 3:26pm on 15 Mar 2011, jon112dk wrote:

    'Ethnic minorities' at 1.4% in rural areas presumably includes the east european farm workers? Or does it?

    Does the race industry include the polish pea picker, or is s/he not the right kind of minority?

    So difficult to tell with disunited kingdom race statistics.

    Complain about this comment

  • 16. At 3:28pm on 15 Mar 2011, Reverend Frog wrote:

    I can see the merit of arguments on both sides. I come from what could be described as a xenophobic and narrow-minded society: I'm Northern Irish. When I moved to London in 2009 I could not get used to all the racial diversity and will admit I was uncomfortable walking along streets in England and not hearing English being spoken, never mind travelling through areas like Southall where the vast majority of residents are Asian immigrants and most signs are in foreign characters.
    I will also admit that I do prefer rural villages that correspond more closely to the romantic 'England' portrayed in programmes such as MM and even Inspector Morse.

    But as I get to know people from all walks of life (some of) my xenophobia is thankfully subsiding. i have two Indian colleagues in the office: i never even give a thought to their ethnicity, they're just who they are.

    Racism and xenophobia is borne of mistrust: felt by insecure people who assume that because somebody doesn't share their culture, interests, language or skin colour they are to be feared. Ignorance breeds territorial behaviour. But at the same time we must remember that if somebody is not used to something it will take them a long time to widen their comfort zone. rural people don't, I'm sure, WANT to be racist: they just don't know any better.

    Complain about this comment

  • 17. At 3:30pm on 15 Mar 2011, peterft wrote:

    I really cannot see what all the fuss is about. In real life you can visit vast swathes of Britain and not see anybody from an ethnic minority - no black farmers, home/land owners, policemen, etc. so why can't you have a TV programme that is all white to reflect that situation. Looks to me like the same old PC BBC is having a go again to try and make us all PC compliant for really no good reason.

    Complain about this comment

  • 18. At 3:31pm on 15 Mar 2011, Freeman wrote:

    The only time I saw a non-white face was on TV until I was a teenager. The PC mob are being dumb as a bag of hammers again.

    Complain about this comment

  • 19. At 3:32pm on 15 Mar 2011, jon112dk wrote:

    "Our parents established beachheads in the cities; it is now up to our generation to move out of those beachheads and claim the rest of Britain as our own"

    Sounds like the language of invasion.

    Complain about this comment

  • 20. At 3:38pm on 15 Mar 2011, Toby wrote:

    "Our parents established beachheads in the cities; it is now up to our generation to move out of those beachheads and claim the rest of Britain as our own" he told the magazine. "If we wait for the climate to change, we will wait for ever."

    if this was a jew in israel i feel he would be accused of zionism.

    while maybe midsummer murders could have the odd 'ethnic' thrown in the cast to make up the 1.4% true proportion of rural england, the producer should not have to be suspended for pointing out that maybe its better not to include them in the cast - its his artistic licence sureley.

    As for whites from urban areas calling themselves 'refugees' - if they feel this way why cant they say this without being labelled racist. Furthermore shouldnt we be asking why they feel this way - rather than just labelling them 'racist'?

    The discourse within of what is and what is not an acceptable opinion to voice seems to be very narrow. What is and what is not 'englishness' has different definitions according to different groups of people.

    Different groups of people is the key phrase. Unfortunately, as the upcoming census i think will show is that groups of people and their culture are increasingly divergent.

    Complain about this comment

  • 21. At 3:49pm on 15 Mar 2011, Peter_Sym wrote:

    9. At 3:06pm on 15 Mar 2011, DanVandenBurg wrote:
    "noone told Tolkein he had to have black hobbits although someone tried to."

    Can you name this 'someone' or is it just something you made up? I know Tolkiens work very well and one of the over-riding themes is various races overcoming their differences to fight a greater evil. One of the evil races, the Haradian (or Southrons) are black but they're based on barbary corsairs. Frankly a few black Dwarfs or Hobbits would make no difference to the story at all as the skin colour of the various races is of minimal importance.

    Complain about this comment

  • 22. At 3:50pm on 15 Mar 2011, Freeman wrote:

    "noone told Tolkein he had to have black hobbits although someone tried to."

    Tell me that is a wind up...

    .-'---`-.
    ,' `.
    | \
    | \
    \ _ \
    ,\ _ ,'-,/-)\
    ( * \ \,' ,' ,'-)
    `._,) -',-')
    \/ ''/
    ) / /
    / ,'-'

    Complain about this comment

  • 23. At 4:04pm on 15 Mar 2011, Grumpy51 wrote:

    As someone who is from the ethnic community i am not upset that we are not represented in Midsomer murders. I would point out the Bollywood films tend to be exclusively Asian, and very enjoyable they are too.
    However please note: Bollywood isn't the real India and Midsomer is not the real UK.

    Complain about this comment

  • 24. At 4:05pm on 15 Mar 2011, Political_Incorrect wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 25. At 4:13pm on 15 Mar 2011, Peter_Sym wrote:

    19. At 3:32pm on 15 Mar 2011, jon112dk wrote:
    "Our parents established beachheads in the cities; it is now up to our generation to move out of those beachheads and claim the rest of Britain as our own"

    Sounds like the language of invasion
    _________
    Sadly I've got to agree with you there. Its the sort of stupid comment that plays right into the hands of the extreme right.

    Complain about this comment

  • 26. At 4:15pm on 15 Mar 2011, Mincepie Murderer wrote:


    The casting is just reflecting the plot. Which is Agatha Christie brought into the 21st century. Insular English village with a shop and a pub, families who've lived there for generations (and usually have a 100-year-old feud going on), elderly landowners, vicars, ex-army types, morris dancers etc. Of course they're all white.

    Complain about this comment

  • 27. At 4:21pm on 15 Mar 2011, Bart_E_Slartfast wrote:

    @15 what's a polish pea? Is that where we get furniture polish or boot polish from?

    If people from Poland pick polish peas does that make them Polish polish pea pickers?

    Complain about this comment

  • 28. At 4:29pm on 15 Mar 2011, Georgia wrote:

    I think we need to start appreciating dramas for their quality, not how many different colours you can find on the actors' faces! Why must everything in media be politicised?
    I'm sure most ethnic minorities (or, people, to you and me) would be insulted by constantly be considered as quota fillers instead of individuals.

    Complain about this comment

  • 29. At 4:30pm on 15 Mar 2011, kaybraes wrote:

    This sounds like racism in reverse, suspending a man for having an opinion is totally wrong. This is typical of the BBC and the way it bends over backwards to the zealots of political correctness. I doubt if anyone who is not from an ethnic minority cares whether there are actors from ethnic minorities in Midsomer Murders or indeed in any other programme.

    Complain about this comment

  • 30. At 4:31pm on 15 Mar 2011, DanVandenBurg wrote:

    @Peter Sym I was referrng to the lady in NZ who made a big fuss about not being allowed to be a hobbit extra for the film The Hobbit since she was not white or caucasian.

    Complain about this comment

  • 31. At 4:32pm on 15 Mar 2011, cricinfo wrote:

    This is totally ridiculous. I am an Asian (Indian), and I am an avid fan of Midsomer Murders, as is my wife. There are many excellent programmes which we love and are white-only casts such as Ms Marple, Poirot, To the Manor Born, Dads Army and dozens more. This excessive PCism just has to stop.

    Complain about this comment

  • 32. At 4:35pm on 15 Mar 2011, Nietzschean_Acolyte wrote:

    Most English villages are white.

    Complain about this comment

  • 33. At 4:36pm on 15 Mar 2011, Norfolk_n_good wrote:

    I have lived in Norfolk and travel into Suffolk and Cambridge often and to be very honest in 99% of all the small villages in all these areas are generally 100% white. Only villages close to the larger urban area's may have the odd ethnic family living quite happily amonst us so what is all the fuss about. I think Midsomer does reflect what I see and is not seen to be racially bias but shows what is a true reflection of rural life. We do haqve large numbers of Polish and other eastern european workers working in and living in the area and maybe Midsomer should show this racial mix more.

    Complain about this comment

  • 34. At 4:36pm on 15 Mar 2011, Nietzschean_Acolyte wrote:

    If it's okay to have Black-only programmes or Asian-only programmes, then why not white-only programmes, given that white people account for 92% of the UK population?

    Complain about this comment

  • 35. At 4:46pm on 15 Mar 2011, monkeypuzzletree wrote:

    This is not about an often boring police in the shires program, it/s about PC and the need to toe the line or else!

    People cannot be forced to accept others just because that is the political agenda of the PC Brigade. Why? Because it is counter productive. Better to have openess about issues like racism, which gives all parties the right to claim freedom of speech. This pandering to the feelings of minority groups at the expence of the host populatiopn is a recipe for disaster.

    Would you accept being told that you must accept someone coming to live in your home? Of course not. Nether I believe do most people want to be told they have to accept this one or the other. People like to have the freedom to choose who they accept. Don't we choose our friends?

    I once saw a filmm abot Vikings with a black Viking. It made the whole film a joke. I think there has been a black actor in a version of Robin Hood. Sorry is this a rewrite of Englsh history or what?

    Complain about this comment

  • 36. At 4:51pm on 15 Mar 2011, Anglophone wrote:

    I live in a rural English village and to my knowledge there are no ethnic minority villagers. Does this mean that we are a bunch of snorting neo-fascists actively discouraging new members of the community? I hope not. This part of the country (the SW) does not have a large non-white population because they don't seem to want to live here in the first place, but the people are very laid back and I'm sure that they would be welcome.

    These types of debate are horrific, with the liberal left types having no other purpose than to expose the object of their ire as racist (thus proving their own "right-on" worthiness). Hence the producer of Midsomer Murders is left having to defend the fact that ethnic minorities are very sparsely represented in many parts of the country, as if this was somehow desirable and that he was personally responsible!

    For the producer of Midsomer Murders (I show that I never watch) that is aimed at the elderly and set in rural England to conform to diversity quotas in casting would be daft! Much of the fiction on TV at the moment suffers from being apparently cast by a committee following central diversity guidelines rather than by the producer of director. The most obvious example being the remake of the brilliant 70s series "Survivors". The remake was simply rubbish! It lost all the philosophical, thought-provoking elements of the original and replaced them with a group of people chosen to represent all the major ethnic groups in the UK, but with a monopoly on greed, violence and evil doing by middle-aged white blokes! Yawn!!!

    It is essential that people from all communities in the UK are represented in drama productions, but in a way that chimes with both the story and the reality that people see among themselves. To shoehorn different racial, gender and/or sexual orientation profiles into a drama is not a recipe for edgy realism, rather it's a recipe for clunky, expensive failure! The fact that BBC has delegated it's drama production to social engineering objectives is reflected in the number of complete turkeys being produced...the execrable "Outcasts" being the most recent and expensive example.

    Complain about this comment

  • 37. At 4:53pm on 15 Mar 2011, cierien wrote:

    i have struggled as an assistant editor in the film industry for ten years , as much as i love drama. this episode has just made me accept i'll never be allowed to progress in the media industry. its the most racist of all. everyone who i started out with ten years ago are at the top of their field, well they are all white. as a black muslim ive only just realised now that ill never be allowed to progress with the likes of Brain true-may in charge of hiring. what a shame.

    Complain about this comment

  • 38. At 4:58pm on 15 Mar 2011, Serguei wrote:

    Why this PC lobby tries to spoil fun for other people coming up with stupid question of one someone "not represented" in the first place?
    Who cares except those people who made it their profession to search for "racism" everybody?
    Just leave everybody along, stop your social engineering.

    PS As the country run out of money, why not government close every financed from public purse body that has world "equality" in its name?

    Complain about this comment

  • 39. At 4:58pm on 15 Mar 2011, busby2 wrote:

    #2 John_From _Hendon wrote:

    Brian True-May should not have said what he did, nor should he have thought it, but he did and now that the error in his stores are in the open he will have to get rather more real.

    That comment shows the extent to which we are now living in a fascist/totalitarian state where you have to not only self censure what you say but also not THINK anything contrary to the dogma of the state for fear of losing your livelihood. The nightmare of George Orwell's 1984 has arrived where the Thought Police are in charge.

    Our freedoms are being steadily eroded. If we as a society don't stand up and defend Brian True-May for having the right to say what he did without being punished (even if you don't agree with what he said), who is going to stand up and protect any of us when we are deemed to say something which is contrary to whatever is deemed to be politically correct in the future?

    We should remember the words of Pastor Martin Niemoller

    "First they came for the communists,
    and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.

    Then they came for the trade unionists,
    and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.

    Then they came for the Jews,
    and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.

    Then they came for me
    and there was no one left to speak out for me."

    We should all be speaking up for Brian True-May and his right to say what he did - it could any of us they are coming after next.






    Complain about this comment

  • 40. At 5:28pm on 15 Mar 2011, TickedOffCitizen wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 41. At 5:31pm on 15 Mar 2011, SnoopDonnyDog wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 42. At 5:56pm on 15 Mar 2011, DanVandenBurg wrote:

    So we (as a nation) can fire a producer for defending a truism but we cannot expell a hate provoking cleric?

    I'm leaving see you! This country is bonkers!

    Complain about this comment

  • 43. At 5:59pm on 15 Mar 2011, RabidRaccoon wrote:

    To be English is to be a member of the white English tribe (Anglo Saxons). Therefore to be an accurate English drama it will only have white actors. These are simple facts.
    We live in Devon and seldom see ethnic people down here. This series is supposed to be based on the type of communities / villages we have, which is all white and filled with the kinds of people you see in Midsomer Murders.
    Reinstate Mr True-May immediately and get over yourselves. I like it the way it is.

    Complain about this comment

  • 44. At 6:01pm on 15 Mar 2011, Kit Green wrote:

    37. At 4:53pm on 15 Mar 2011, cierien wrote:
    i have struggled as an assistant editor in the film industry for ten years , as much as i love drama. this episode has just made me accept i'll never be allowed to progress in the media industry. its the most racist of all. everyone who i started out with ten years ago are at the top of their field, well they are all white. as a black muslim ive only just realised now that ill never be allowed to progress with the likes of Brain true-may in charge of hiring. what a shame.
    -------------------------------------------------------------

    I have worked in production and post-production for many years. I have had many colleagues over the years from various minorities. Just look at the credits on TV, listen to on air credits on the radio. You will see / hear many obviously ethnic names. Keep trying!

    Complain about this comment

  • 45. At 6:02pm on 15 Mar 2011, grumblerog wrote:

    The racism is not in having a white show set in an English Village, but the views expressed were offensive because they weren't just saying rural England is 100% white, but that it was good that it was.
    A programme maker reflecting real life is one thing, but reflecting personal prejudice is another.
    To put the show into context I was once at a TV industry conference exhibition in Cannes about 5 years ago and all of a sudden the 3 story exhibition hall went hushed and then errupted as if some amazing person had arrived. The man at the centre of this fuss was John Nettles. I had no idea how popular that show is abroad. It was as if Jesus had appeared and blessed us. Spooky.
    Personally, I've always found the show insulting for the quality of the writing, plots...and ... the ... (pause)... wooden..(pause).. dialogue.

    Complain about this comment

  • 46. At 6:05pm on 15 Mar 2011, hms_shannon wrote:

    5. At 2:50pm on 15 Mar 2011, Llareggub_2 wrote his post.

    Sir with such a brilliant name & it took a fellow Welsh man to realize its
    significance,good old Dylan Thomas or was it the DT`s.Do not worry you are
    one of us,take no notice of the Northern Welsh speaking lot,they have yet to come to terms with the Romans.

    Complain about this comment

  • 47. At 6:13pm on 15 Mar 2011, 1978 Shoot league ladders wrote:

    True May is actively discriminating against non whites, are you telling me no one would moan if a black or Muslim director said 'I don't want whites in my series'?
    They's be polishing their jackboots in seconds, or using the statement to justify their own racial hatred, which has certainly not vanished from middle England.

    Complain about this comment

  • 48. At 6:33pm on 15 Mar 2011, dandieboy wrote:

    I am not racist but I think we are taking PC too far. The majority of ethnic minorities would not object to a show such as Midsomer Murders exluding a minority race person. This is set in a time when there would have only been white people involved. Why ridicule it by the few who object. I am shocked that the member of your staff should be suspended for saying the obvious. We have welcomed many ethnic people into our country but we would still like to remind the trouble mongers that this is our country too. There appears to be too much pandering to anyone who is not white. It would be good for the BBC to stop such bias and not allow a man to be suspended for such an honest and obvious comment. For goodness sake and for common sense, reinstate this man and let him get on the the exellent job he has been doing so that the majority in this country can continue to enjoy this programme.

    Complain about this comment

  • 49. At 6:37pm on 15 Mar 2011, PJohnston wrote:

    Given that Easton generally loves to blog on immigration it is notable that hes willfully ignored numerous news items on the topic of immigration over the last month and decided to highlight this rather minor story. Lets consider some of the major stories that Easton ignored between his last blog post on immigration and this one;

    - the high levels of immigration in the dying throws of New Labours term of office,
    - the revelation that New Labour suppressed government reports demonstrating a clear negative effect on UK wages/salaries due to immigration,
    - the birth rate of polish mothers resident in UK being double that of UK mothers,
    - a searchlight report detailing widespread public opposition to immigration particularly amongst immigrants.

    Given the choice of material why would Easton ignore all the major stories above and decide to pen a piece bemoaning ITV's use of Black and Minority Ethnic characters? The answer is that Easton is very much pro-immigration. He is not a journalist, he is a partisan excuse for one.

    The BBC, if its really concerned about addressing consumers complaints about bias, really needs to put propagandists like Easton out to pasture.

    Complain about this comment

  • 50. At 6:41pm on 15 Mar 2011, uk_is_toast wrote:

    Much of the Midsomer series was filmed near where I live, in fact last year they filmed in our village high street. I'd say its representation of rural England is quite realistic. But who cares, it's FICTION...

    Complain about this comment

  • 51. At 6:41pm on 15 Mar 2011, Domasion Ragor wrote:

    Why single out an English based programme? I don't remember seeing any black actors in 'Monarch of the Glen', Father Ted or Ballykissangel - TV programmes set in Scotland and Ireland.
    And by the way, Ash Atalla the television producer who said that it was a 'generational thing' - a somewhat ageist remark - is Egyptian-born so it could be said that his views might be racially motivated!

    Complain about this comment

  • 52. At 6:41pm on 15 Mar 2011, monkeypuzzletree wrote:

    39 busby 2

    Bang on with what Niemoller said. That is just the point I was trying to make. We need to speak out and defend the right for anybody to do it.

    If more had spoken out then maybe Hitler could have been stopped. The problem with Germany then, and Britain today, is that too many wait for someone else to do it!!!

    Freedom is something you have to fight for, and in the case of WW2 die for. But in Britain we have been so careless of our freedom, believingin the fantasy of democracy, simply because we are told we are living in one. But it is more like cuckoo land then real democracy, as Midsommer Murders graphically shows.

    Nobody who is a guest in this country, or who is of an ethnic background has the right to be more special than the average white Brit based on the skin colour being darker. Everybody should enjoy equal rights, including the right to say that it may be inapprpriate for this or that group to be represented in a a TV serial.

    Do we really want to see the Battle of Hastings being fought with a load of black actors? It would be barmy, but that is the road we are on.

    Complain about this comment

  • 53. At 6:56pm on 15 Mar 2011, BB-S wrote:

    I listened to the piece about this on Radio 4 this morning. Without having heard the comments from the programme producer I originally thought this was a storm in a tea cup. However, now that I know what was said - it was pretty outrageous.
    Unfortunately, at least one of those interviewed this morning certainly didn't help the situation. He stated that traditional villages in England are mostly inhabited by English people while cities are mostly inhabited by the non English. I presume that his definition of English has nothing to do with citizenship, but is solely based on skin colour and how many generations have lived here. Isn't that somewhat ridiculous, given that pretty much everyone in England migrated here at some stage - it is just a question of when. Let's forget about all these arbitary distinctions and embrace multi-cultural England and all the benefits it brings.
    As a point of interest, I am both a migrant and live in a small, traditional English village. I am white, so my origins may not be immediately obvious, but we do share the village with several people originally from Pakistan and Mauritius. I'm sure Midsomer Murders could manage to introduce one or two people along similar lines to add a bit of realism (at least as far as our diversity goes!)

    Complain about this comment

  • 54. At 7:03pm on 15 Mar 2011, John Ellis wrote:

    bemusing to say the least not that i watch such dross probably because its far far from any conventional programing reality i know and when you compare it to other quality programing.

    As for oh no ethnics in this remote village what about The Indian doctor http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00w6bw4 excellent program centered around a Indian doctor in a welsh mining village....

    On the other hand maybe the writer just ain't talented enough to write such characters....

    Complain about this comment

  • 55. At 7:04pm on 15 Mar 2011, jobsagoodin wrote:

    Stuart_MCFC 47

    ' are you telling me no one would moan if a black or Muslim director said 'I don't want whites in my series'?'

    Plenty of people might complain but that wouldn't make them right. I wouldn't have a problem if the series was set in an area where there weren't any whites. In fact I'd object if they included whites just for the sake of it.

    Complain about this comment

  • 56. At 7:07pm on 15 Mar 2011, Orrible Horace wrote:

    You write: "It is almost a truism to say that those places which are less familiar with ethnic minorities are more likely to be disturbed by their presence". I strongly disagree. I live in the heart of a rural community in East Anglia. The villages are very pretty - not that different from Midsomer actually - there are very few ethnic minorities here. That's just the way it is. The few that are, however (the local Indian restaurant etc) are warmly welcomed and made to feel very much a part of the community. I can honestly say I don't think I've ever heard a racist remark.

    Where I have seen huge resentment and discomfort is in the white communities in poor urban areas that have seen the largest influx of immigration. It's a cheap and cliched stereotype that country people are intrinsically ill-disposed to 'outsiders'. Although it might not suit lazy journalists, the truth is quite different.

    Complain about this comment

  • 57. At 7:14pm on 15 Mar 2011, DiscontiNEWS wrote:

    This is absolutely bizarre! Midsomer Murders actually provides a safe and inoffensive (and possibly tongue in cheek) light entertainment drama. Can you imagine the potential uproar from the ethnic community if it turns out that the only ethnic in the village committed the murder? Will that be considered racist?

    Does the likes of Bollywood have to use token 'Whites' in reference to Empire? Or, does a Black theatre company have to use white actors?

    We are only allowed to campaign for minority interests in this country but I believe it is time for a 'White & Heterosexual March' to Trafalgar Square at the weekend in reference to what actually represents the majority of the British population.

    P.S. This isn't a racist view just a reflection of commonsense.

    Complain about this comment

  • 58. At 7:23pm on 15 Mar 2011, DanVandenBurg wrote:

    Yes I think the willow should stop bending for those who will not bend

    Complain about this comment

  • 59. At 7:39pm on 15 Mar 2011, HonestElle wrote:

    37. At 4:53pm on 15 Mar 2011, cierien wrote:
    i have struggled as an assistant editor in the film industry for ten years , as much as i love drama. this episode has just made me accept i'll never be allowed to progress in the media industry. its the most racist of all. everyone who i started out with ten years ago are at the top of their field, well they are all white. as a black muslim ive only just realised now that ill never be allowed to progress with the likes of Brain true-may in charge of hiring. what a shame.
    -------------------------------------------------------------
    I have also worked in the media. I have had very many ethnic minority colleagues,of varying levels of competence. It's about talent and having a good attitude.Perhaps you need to focus on these rather than assuming it's down to your ethnicity, lots of white people don't make it either! It's a hugely competitive industry but probably more open than many 'closed shops'.

    Complain about this comment

  • 60. At 8:23pm on 15 Mar 2011, rikki_t wrote:

    I work in the media, too. As usual in our business the generalisations are flying about. The Midsomer producer should have been more aware that his words could cause concern. But my own thinking on the issue was hi-jacked by the quote on the BBC News article attributed to Ash Atalla, producer of sitcoms The Office and the IT crowd, who said it was a "generational thing", where people of a certain age liked to believe that "Englishness" was all-white.
    Sorry, Ash - I am of 'a certain age' and found this comment inaccurate and offensive to those of us in my age-group who've lived a multicultural life for as long as I can remember - forged in the liberal Sixties. Ageist, Ash. Another generalisation.

    Complain about this comment

  • 61. At 8:27pm on 15 Mar 2011, Bakez wrote:

    I dont remember anyone complaining about 'the Frest Prince of Bel Air' or the Desmonds?

    If he wants to create a show with a particular 'character', then it is his show, he can use his artistic licence to do that.

    But even so this is just more evidence of the nutcase liberal PC police being hell bent on destroying society.

    Complain about this comment

  • 62. At 8:52pm on 15 Mar 2011, freedmac wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 63. At 9:29pm on 15 Mar 2011, Anglophone wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 64. At 9:39pm on 15 Mar 2011, Louise Gallagher wrote:

    "It is almost a truism to say that those places which are less familiar with ethnic minorities are more likely to be disturbed by their presence."

    I don't know about rural areas but this was certainly my experience having moved from South London to the South Coast twelve years ago. At the time non-white faces were conspicuous by their absence, but we were more taken aback on hearing people our own age coming out with the sort of ill-informed tripe I was only used to octogenarian coming out with. Bizarre.

    Complain about this comment

  • 65. At 10:06pm on 15 Mar 2011, GB-Lon wrote:

    This story from BBC (2007) states that 52% - or 1.1 million - of new jobs created had gone to migrants http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/7069779.stm

    Some of the research that Mark Easton has referenced implies that white middle class are fleeing multicultural cities to a homogenous white villages.

    Can it be a correlation that these two trends are mutually reinforcing, keping middle class youngsters away from the economic hubs of the country i.e. cities.

    Complain about this comment

  • 66. At 10:18pm on 15 Mar 2011, nljjjjjj wrote:

    Wow!! All i would like to say is this . I am a black male who was born in Hackney in East London . When i watch a programme i am only concerned about being entertained i'e an excellent script and storyline . It is the brainchild of the producer/director etc which makes such things compelling . I have no quarms as to who appears or who does not appear , ethnically or otherwise . That's ridiculous . I like a good show and that's it . The producer should be allowed to portray it entirely their own way . That's all .

    Complain about this comment

  • 67. At 10:18pm on 15 Mar 2011, MrJSmith wrote:

    #62 freedmac

    "In the queue in the baker's shop, we told someone we told someone we were travelling back to london and a man in the queue then said that london was "full of blacks". I should add that this was a saturday morning in a busy town and that there was not a black face to be seen in that high street. Who says racism isn't endemic in the countryside."
    -----------------------------------------------------

    So, one person, in one shop, somewhere you describe as a 'busy town' makes a statement and from that you can conclude that racism is endemic in the countryside. Tell me that was an attempt at comedy that went over my head.

    Complain about this comment

  • 68. At 10:20pm on 15 Mar 2011, bounce bounce bounce wrote:

    I for one will be boycotting this show from now on. Doesn't hurt to have one or two ethnic minorities in there.

    This show is racist.

    Complain about this comment

  • 69. At 10:23pm on 15 Mar 2011, Colchie wrote:

    Another score for the far right. Madness.

    Complain about this comment

  • 70. At 10:56pm on 15 Mar 2011, Chimaoge Okezue wrote:

    Though I will not describe myself as a great fan of the ITV series, I do watch episodes of Midsomer Murders from time to time. I have to say that until I read about this so-called "race row", I have never actually thought of the fact that there isn't any non-white face in the TV series. I think the treatment of Brian True-May by his employers is quite extreme and unnecessary, especially when it is well-known that many racial minorities in England self-identify as "British" rather than "English". I am of African origin and self-identify as "British".

    Complain about this comment

  • 71. At 11:04pm on 15 Mar 2011, st_peter wrote:

    I don't remember there ever being a member of an ethnic minority in 'The Vicar of Dibley' and nobody said anything about that. This is a storm in a tea cup and people need to calm down and not over analyse this or start producing reports on the matter. Ridiculous

    Complain about this comment

  • 72. At 11:08pm on 15 Mar 2011, Greg wrote:

    I am fairly certain I have seen episodes with Romani people in it and these I believe do count as an ethnic minority.

    Complain about this comment

  • 73. At 11:12pm on 15 Mar 2011, John_from_Hendon wrote:

    #39. busby2 wrote:

    "#2 John_From _Hendon wrote:

    Brian True-May should not have said what he did, nor should he have thought it, but he did and now that the error in his stories are in the open he will have to get rather more real.

    ============

    That comment shows the extent to which we are now living in a fascist/totalitarian state.
    "

    I disagree (as you might expect!) Why is it OK to be insulting when it hurts people? Why is it wrong to suggest that one should be strive not to be gratuitously rude? How is that the avoiding of insults has become totalitarian or fascist?

    Brian True-May expressed his view that English villages are uniformly white and that this is why he excluded any non white people from his dramas. Whilst this may have been true 100 years ago it is not true today. That is the reality and if he wanted to portray reality then he must have known he was deliberately getting it wrong and as such he should not have done so as to do so is in the terms that he chosen to use was gratuitously insulting. If he had said he was showing a fantasy of village life (which of course he is) then perhaps he could have got away with it, but to set out his stall as portraying a real Englishness then he is, and was, wrong. He is a century out of date!

    Complain about this comment

  • 74. At 11:32pm on 15 Mar 2011, The Rockabilly Red wrote:

    I live in rural north Oxfordshire. Scenes from this TV show have been shot within 2 miles of my home. I've lived here for almost 25 years. Not matter how un-pc it may be, no matter how 'undiverse' it may appear, I can go for days at a time without seeing a non-white face. It is a simple fact of life that, at least in this part of England, there are very few non-whites in residence. This may or may not be regretable, but it is the truth.

    On the other hand, there are many long-time residents of Italian and Polish extraction living locally, both as a consequence of WW2. Perhaps they don't count because they are white?

    Complain about this comment

  • 75. At 01:38am on 16 Mar 2011, NZ_expat wrote:

    I shudder to think i used to pay a license fee to support such a racist anti white establishment as the BBC.
    Where is the problem with wanting a show with a white cast? I lived in rural Staffordshire and as long as i didn't venture near the larger shopping centres and towns it could be literally weeks before i saw a coloured face. So to me the show was truly representative of my surroundings and way of life.
    Not only that, i can't really imagine there being masses of black and asian viewers tuning in every week to watch one of the last and best television programs to truly represent rural 'english' villages as they really are.

    What next? Black snowmen because they are always white snowmen cast in the part?
    It may sound absurd but its the way things are going.... shame on you racist BBC!!!

    Complain about this comment

  • 76. At 01:43am on 16 Mar 2011, genocideopposer wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 77. At 01:53am on 16 Mar 2011, Piggyback wrote:

    Ethnic minority or not, who would want to live in a village where mysterious deaths are the norm, and where all of them are solved by one guy and his sidekick? What if Barnaby has a sick day? The village would all be dead by teatime.

    Complain about this comment

  • 78. At 02:07am on 16 Mar 2011, genocideopposer wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 79. At 06:14am on 16 Mar 2011, DinaAlexander wrote:

    cping500 says:
    "David Cameron said the other day that "what defines us as a society, to belong here, is to believe in freedom of speech, freedom of worship, democracy, the rule of law, equal rights regardless of race, sex or sexuality."

    A state can be based on ethnicity, or it can be wordist. That is, patriotism in a wordist state, is based on what words you are loyal to.

    So what Cameron is saying is, anyone on planet Earth who believes in the "right words", has the same rights to Britain, as the indigenous British peoples. Therefore according to Cameron, the indigenous British peoples, do not have a land of their own, unlike all the other peoples of this planet.

    I have a question related to that. What do we do with the people who do not believe in Cameron's "right words"? And what do we do with the rest, when these "right words" change?

    Complain about this comment

  • 80. At 07:19am on 16 Mar 2011, Aneeta Trikk wrote:

    Until I read the media piece on the so called row I hadn't even noticed the absence of anyone from Midsomer. Are detectives being called in to find out what happened to all the missing or absent players?

    Is there to be new legislation that all publicly performed or displayed art must have a balanced content of performers and images or be banned, fined, and roundly kicked into touch? Ouch that is lot of masterful work to be disposed of then.

    Isn't a truly integrated society one that doesn't know what racism is because it cannot exist? Isn't the original row a sure sign there are some who are never going to let the subject lie down for long enough to die on its own?

    Complain about this comment

  • 81. At 08:48am on 16 Mar 2011, monkeypuzzletree wrote:

    Dear Mark

    To keep it simple this PCness is counter productive and will possibly do more to undermine race elations than enhance them. But Mark are you part of the problem or the solution?

    People are I suspect, tired of being told who and what hey must accept. Surely it is better for everybody to have the right of choice? Is that not a fundemental human right too? And one from which constructive dialogue and relationships between people of different backgrounds can better develop.

    Complain about this comment

  • 82. At 09:13am on 16 Mar 2011, Mubbers wrote:

    #14 - Well I have NEVER watched MOBO. Nonetheless why not have a MOWO Awards - Music of WHITE Origin. Let's see how far that gets. That was really my point there.

    Complain about this comment

  • 83. At 10:13am on 16 Mar 2011, tarquin wrote:

    It's true that rural communities are less racially diverse and probably more hostile to 'newcomers' - but is that news?

    They have always been the slowest areas to adapt to all sorts of change, whether it be ethnic groups or technological advancements, that's the nature of the countryside, cities are busy and vibrant (well..sometimes) and the country tends to be more static

    I don't see what's wrong with that, I like the quiet, slow nature of the country - so what if immigrants don't really settle there? Foreign immigrants to most countries invariably go to the big cities because that's where it's easier to find jobs and they can build communities

    Likewise what's the issue with Midsomer being mostly white? The stats bear out the rationale for this, villages like Midsomer are over 98% white, just as there are distinct ethnic communities in cities (eg Indians in Leicester) there is a distinct white community in most rural places - If I want to portray Manchester or Birmingham I would want many ethnicities, if I want to portray the village I live in I would show an overwhelmingly white majority, because that's the reality

    There was a similarly odd statement by Trevor Philips a while back when he said the Vicar of Dibley should have had ethnic minority characters - why? As some have pointed out here, we are told there are such things as black and asian communities (something which I view as patronising and racist in itself anyway) but not allowed to mention there might be white communities - that would be racist...

    Personally I disagree with labelling any community by a colour and assuming all are the same because they share a colour - but if we're going to have daft labels like 'black music' (BBC radio 1 term) then surely there are 'white' ones?

    As an aside, it's funny how we see Englishness as the countryside, I don't regard Slough or Birmingham as quintessentially English, but the typical country image, even though both are of course English, although one could argue cities made of concrete are generic the world over, but our natural geography is our own

    Complain about this comment

  • 84. At 10:22am on 16 Mar 2011, busby2 wrote:

    #2 John_From _Hendon wrote:

    Brian True-May should not have said what he did, nor should he have thought it, but he did and now that the error in his stories are in the open he will have to get rather more real.

    I replied #39.
    That comment shows the extent to which we are now living in a fascist/totalitarian state.

    John_from_Hendon replied #73

    I disagree (as you might expect!) Why is it OK to be insulting when it hurts people? Why is it wrong to suggest that one should be strive not to be gratuitously rude? How is that the avoiding of insults has become totalitarian or fascist?
    His comments were not “gratuitously rude”. He was not being PC, which is not the same thing.

    Brian True-May expressed his view that English villages are uniformly white and that this is why he excluded any non white people from his dramas. Whilst this may have been true 100 years ago it is not true today. That is the reality and if he wanted to portray reality then he must have known he was deliberately getting it wrong and as such he should not have done so as to do so is in the terms that he chosen to use was gratuitously insulting. If he had said he was showing a fantasy of village life (which of course he is) then perhaps he could have got away with it, but to set out his stall as portraying a real Englishness then he is, and was, wrong. He is a century out of date!
    I think you should get out more because English villages of the type the series is set in are still uniformly white.
    But what really disappoints me in your reply is that you have failed to grasp the point that to criticises and to suspend someone, so threatening their livelihood, on the grounds of what they said and that he should not have even thought it, is any way acceptable in a democratic society. If you persecute Brian True-May where would it end?
    That was why I wrote in #39
    We should remember the words of Pastor Martin Niemoller

    "First they came for the communists,
    and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.

    Then they came for the trade unionists,
    and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.

    Then they came for the Jews,
    and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.

    Then they came for me
    and there was no one left to speak out for me."

    We should all be speaking up for Brian True-May and his right to say what he did without fear of being sacked - it could any of us they are coming after next.
    I should perhaps remind you of McCarthyism in the USA during the height of the Cold War when anyone with supposedly left wing views was hounded from making a living in film and TV. That was a witch hunt of the Left and here we are engaged on another witch hunt, this time with the Left wielding the whip. That is the new fascism we face today in our society and that is why I am disappointed that you appear to be supporting it instead of opposing it.

    Complain about this comment

  • 85. At 10:59am on 16 Mar 2011, Political_Incorrect wrote:

    There is almost no freedom of speech on the BBC judging by how unfairly the house rules are interpreted. People's opinions seem to be removed because they are the wrong opinions.

    Complain about this comment

  • 86. At 11:27am on 16 Mar 2011, ady wrote:

    Cameron and Clegg have the same idea as the Midsomers chap, keeping their little cabinet group exclusively white.
    Tribalism is a genetic trait in humans.

    There is an unelected coloured individual in the cabinet, in the tokenist spot known as minister without portfolio.

    Complain about this comment

  • 87. At 11:43am on 16 Mar 2011, ady wrote:

    This is for anyone who is still struggling with the subject matter, especially children and other easily confused individuals.

    Midsomer Murders isn't real, it's just pretend made up stuff.

    Eastenders is just pretend made up stuff as well.

    No-one really dies, none of it really happens, it's just actors pretending.

    Glad I could help.

    Complain about this comment

  • 88. At 12:21pm on 16 Mar 2011, Unusualj wrote:

    I am black, I live in a village in Surrey, before that I lived in the village next door to Cookham Dean where this programme is filmed.

    There are few villages in southern England that do not have anyone from ethnic minority, as a resident, working or visiting there.

    Given the number of GPs/nurses/shop-keepers/care-workers/bus drivers/courier drivers/tourists etc who are from an ethnic minority who visit rural community the probablity of spending a whole week in an all-white village must be very small.

    I'm not a fan of the programme but my attention to this question was drawn by my 9 year old (mixed race) daughter who upon hearing the comments made by Mr May (and not the following comments) said "Well that's stupid what are we then!".

    My only problem is that if the producer feels that they only way he can depict an "English Village" is to ensure that it's white, then maybe he doesn't see those of us born, breed and living in England as English.

    It's funny but the only place I'm always called English is the Caribbean, while some of my fellow countrymen here are bewildered when I answer their strange question of "Where are you from?" with "From Yorkshire actually".

    Complain about this comment

  • 89. At 1:04pm on 16 Mar 2011, genocideopposer wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 90. At 1:07pm on 16 Mar 2011, genocideopposer wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 91. At 1:16pm on 16 Mar 2011, genocideopposer wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 92. At 1:24pm on 16 Mar 2011, HBW wrote:

    I have been enjoying every single episode of MM over here on the Continent for years. When I came across the BBC article my first thought was: Must be an April fool hoax. What the dickens are those people hounding Mr True-May for?! What consequences are they considering? Are they already pondering about the "political correct mixture" of ethnic minorities to be involved in future episodes making sure not to forget any one? Mind the equilibrium! "Political correctness", my foot! Is that a tempest in a teacup to cover up for other shortcomings at the TV station? It smells like it.


    Complain about this comment

  • 93. At 1:30pm on 16 Mar 2011, genocideopposer wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 94. At 3:16pm on 16 Mar 2011, bigsammyb wrote:

    Its not just villages where you don't see ethnic minorities. I worked in a country town for over 5 years and i never once saw a black/asian etc face.

    Complain about this comment

  • 95. At 3:44pm on 16 Mar 2011, Wolf_J_Flywheel wrote:

    As one who regards Midsomer Murders as fairly low in the crime genre, I find all the fuss more than a little bemusing, I'm surprised there's anyone left to murder. I suppose they could inject some new blood into the place and have them bumped off in the first five minutes or so.
    Problem solved

    My sympathies to the production staff for having to bear the brunt of so much unnecessary attention

    Complain about this comment

  • 96. At 3:59pm on 16 Mar 2011, ProfPhoenix wrote:

    I have always supported a multi racial ideal but fail to find any moral justification in multiculturalism, spawned by college relativism. England is and has been primarily a multi racial society where discrimination based on the colour of skin has long been reduced to pariah status. But this should not imply that in every dimension of English life there should be awareness of ethnic interests. I am sure that Midsomer Murders will depict the horrendous sport of fox hunting as part of the English country tradition, which we will have to put up with. But why not include the Afghan and Pakistani sport of dog fighting to make an ethnic match? For many of us the village church, its bells and steeple, is part of our history, just as the Swiss Chalet or the Mosque is a feature of Swiss and Turkish culture respectively. I suppose our multicultural fascists would want the Midsomer Mosque included. But why stop there? Many ethnic culures are busy conducting massacres, why not rename it to the Midsomer Massacres, and have episodes depicting slaughter of Hindus, Christians and Jews by the soldiers of Allah who have every right to appear on the show. What is the difference, little old ladies poisoning the local vicar or jihadists killing a rabbi? It is still murder, provided as rather light hearted entertainment.

    Just to repeat my point: colour is not a problem in this country; apart from a minority of malajusted misfits there is no racism. But racism has been manufacturered by the PC brigade of multiculturalists who seek to impose a different interpretation on our open ended culture. The style of story telling in Midsomer Murders, like the Agatha Christie Miss Marples, has its rules of story telling and should be respected. Just as we would not impose Wall Street financiers into stories told in Eskimo communities.

    Complain about this comment

  • 97. At 4:15pm on 16 Mar 2011, genocideopposer wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 98. At 4:16pm on 16 Mar 2011, genocideopposer wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 99. At 4:16pm on 16 Mar 2011, genocideopposer wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 100. At 4:17pm on 16 Mar 2011, genocideopposer wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 101. At 4:17pm on 16 Mar 2011, genocideopposer wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 102. At 4:19pm on 16 Mar 2011, genocideopposer wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 103. At 4:26pm on 16 Mar 2011, genocideopposer wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 104. At 4:39pm on 16 Mar 2011, genocideopposer wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 105. At 4:54pm on 16 Mar 2011, genocideopposer wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 106. At 4:58pm on 16 Mar 2011, John wrote:

    I first noticed this story yesterday evening at about 9.30 in the evening. I quite literally had to look twice at ITV suspending someone for what they deemed to be racist comments.

    I looked again at what I was watching at the time (Caroline Quentin in India) and confirmed that ITV were indeed subtitling an Indian man who was being interviewed. I listened and the man could speak perfectly good English and his accent was not that strong. He was perfectly understandable.

    I can only assume that the person who made the decision to use subtitles will be suspended and investigated for very obvious racism very soon.

    Complain about this comment

  • 107. At 5:05pm on 16 Mar 2011, genocideopposer wrote:

    Are we not allowed to talk about the potential non-future of white children as a racial group as a result of "immigration" and "assimilation"?

    Is Mark Easton assuming that white people will never ask him any difficult questions regarding his celebrating "diversity" and what that means for white children?

    Complain about this comment

  • 108. At 5:09pm on 16 Mar 2011, DinaAlexander wrote:

    genocideopposer wrote:
    "Anti-racist is a code word for anti-white."

    It is sure starting to look that way isn't it.

    No one says a TV show that is 100% black needs more diversity.

    No one says a TV show that is 100% asian needs more diversity.

    No one says a TV show that is 100% oriental needs more diversity.

    They are already 100% diverse.

    All white TV shows and only white TV shows, always need to be more diverse. White TV shows only stop needing to be more diverse, when there are no more white people left in them.

    Complain about this comment

  • 109. At 5:13pm on 16 Mar 2011, genocideopposer wrote:

    Maybe Mark Easton would like to admit that this

    http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard/article-23873043-bbc-chief-mark-thompson-admits-left-wing-bias.do

    might be skewing his analysis of race issues in this country?

    Complain about this comment

  • 110. At 6:54pm on 16 Mar 2011, TickedOffCitizen wrote:

    Just got an email saying my post number 40 has been deleted.

    Aparently it might offend someone. They don't say who, so I will have to guess who it is that is so important that they can not be offended.

    I am pretty offended that a comment which used no insulting language, made no call for violence has been deleted. Aparently the fact that I am offended is not important. I will have to guess why it is that I am so unimportant.

    The behaviour of the BBC just makes it very clear why so many people are so angry.

    BBC - do you think you are making the anger better or worse?

    Complain about this comment

  • 111. At 00:25am on 17 Mar 2011, ady wrote:

    The beeb simply obeys orders.
    It has no choice in these matters, its money comes from the government and it is bound by government policy.

    If you want change. vote for it.

    Complain about this comment

  • 112. At 08:15am on 17 Mar 2011, Podgee wrote:

    The English countryside is in places exclusively white, and why shouldn't it be? I have seen adverts posted in my area that ate exclusively black...is that ok in a predominantly white area? We are becoming the "compulsory white" in adverts these days. I think it is fine to have all white progrmmes, lets face it there are MANY all black/asian shows on TV currently. Where is the issue..????????

    Complain about this comment

  • 113. At 8:42pm on 17 Mar 2011, PaulRM wrote:

    I would genuinely like to know the definition of the word "racism" - by that I mean, a definition that would stand up in court and can be applied without reference to personal opinion. It seems to me that it is a word that is sometimes sprinkled liberally in disputes between individuals and/or groups when there is a difference of ideas and attitudes, but nevertheless does not involve at its core the intention to subjugate or supress the rights of said individual or group.

    In 2004 Trevor Phillips — chairman of the Commission for Racial Equality - said: 'black and Asian people suffer from “passive apartheid” when they visit our countryside. He admits that there are no actual impediments, and does not accuse anybody of refusing to serve cream teas to Asians. He merely says that members of ethnic minorities feel “uncomfortable”, and get looks “as if they came from Planet Zarg”.'
    [Extract from Times article: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/libby_purves/article493243.ece ]

    Use of the "A" word in such a glib manner is an insult to those who really suffered, and died, under the obscene South African regime that legalised it in 1948. And in that context it seems to me that accusations of "discrimination", "prejudice", and "offence" to desrcibe some aspects of the everyday interchanges between individuals does nothing to advance mutual tolerance and understanding. As a resident of the rural North West, but a Londoner by birth, I would be a millionaire if I had a penny for every time somebody "comments" on my round vowels. Should I classify such treatment as prejudice, or bigotry, or discrimination, or even racism.

    We need perspective, and a willingness to see the other person's point of view, and avoid the sloppy and incessant use of pejoratives to account for feelings of discomfort. The alternative is an atmosphere of mutual mistrust, and an ever present fear of being denounced akin to the Salem witch trials.

    Complain about this comment

  • 114. At 9:51pm on 17 Mar 2011, Christopher wrote:

    We all have to be so very careful about what we say and how we say it these days: we sadly live in a very over-sensitive and litigious society full of thin-skinned people always ready to take offence at everything and anything around them. What happened to the good old days when we enjoyed true freedom of expression and people could agree to disagree on something without facing accusations of racism or sexism etc? I find a few politicians and other public figures offensive every time they open their mouths, but I would never dream of denying them their freedom to express their opinions.

    Complain about this comment

  • 115. At 09:49am on 18 Mar 2011, HBW wrote:

    I feel I should add this to my entry (no. 92):

    MM is like those enjoyable crime stories by Michael Innes and Nicholas Blake, and also a bit like the TV series "All Creatures Great and Small". True, there are new cars, mobiles and computers around in County Midsomer, the atmosphere, however, is that of the 50s and 60s - perhaps also because of the endearing "slowness" of old films. MM is special, a kind of series so rare nowadays, and it has any right to be as it is.

    I also like "Cracker" and "Prime Suspect" which deal with all our the present-day problems in an excellent way. As do so many other series. MM is unique, the actors are wonderful.

    I'm convinced both types of series can perfectly well exist parallel to each other. And that they have their audiences is clearly beyond debate.

    Perhaps there is somebody in the upper floors of the TV station's building who has the sense to whistle back those over-eager persons who triggered off such an absolutely unnecessary discussion. However, "against stupidity even gods fight in vain". Let's hope Friedrich Schiller is wrong for once.

    Today at 10.30 p. m. there's another episode on Austrian TV - they started from the beginning, so it's episode four tonight. To me the perfect start into the weekend I'm looking forward to after a stressful week of global business. On Sunday night there's a more recent episode on the German TV - another highlight.

    Complain about this comment

  • 116. At 11:53am on 18 Mar 2011, Melliott wrote:

    I grew up in the area where Midsomer is filmed, and it is true - for whatever reason - that in the villages anything other than 'white Caucasian' is highly unusual. That is just the way it is. To shoehorn unrealistic characters into this environment would be the height of tokenism, but ultimately irrelevant. I now live in a village about 50 miles away and the same applies, yet 3 miles away we have a large town which is as diverse and multicultural as any large urban town, but it is simply not diverse in the surrounding villages and MM simply reflects this.

    Midsomer Murders is a programme you can watch with your children and grandparents; there is no sex, swearing, violence (aside from short bursts of serial murder!) or the usual dirge of drug taking, fighting etc, which permeates so many police dramas these days. As a licence payer, my fee contributes to the making of many such shows, which I choose not to watch because I do not enjoy the content or find it entertaining, but I do not think these should not be made simply because I don't like them! I DO, however, enjoy MM - and very sincerely hope it is left just as it is for that bit of escapism that we all need, wherever we choose to find it.

    Complain about this comment

  • 117. At 12:35pm on 18 Mar 2011, thatmcgrath wrote:

    The UK must be the most politically correct place on earth. For goodness sake jsut act your age.

    Complain about this comment

View these comments in RSS

BBC iD

Sign in

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.