Thursday, March 17, 2011

it's all white

Midsomer Murders is a detective drama set in fabulously wealthy villages just next to the Garden of Eden, where the sun shines nearly all the time, bicycles have baskets and bells on them, accents are silver spoon, the sanest of the inhabitants are called eccentrics, gossip is more an occupation than a pastime, the butcher wears an apron and a boater, the church is the hub of the community, and nothing much happens apart from blackmail, fraud, countless infidelities of all types of sexuality, and a murder rate that would make 1930s Chicago look on with a jealous awe.

The detective is a nice ordinary family man from the nearby (pardon the expression) ‘town’ where, unlike the villages, there are more householders than gardeners, roads with cars on them, shops where the shopkeeper isn’t always a pillar of the local amateur dramatics society, pubs where someone unexpected might enter, and not everything looks like it has just been cleaned and polished. Like all great detectives, he always finds the culprit.

It is classic whodunit, carried out with logical deduction, art, imagination and style in a lavish setting. The programme stretches the intellect, entertains, amuses, relaxes and makes us feel good when we pretend we knew who it was all along. Its fans love it. What could possibly spoil it ?

Political correctness of course; if only because the European Court of Human Rights hasn’t watched it yet. The producer, Brian True-May, doesn’t care much about being PC and probably doesn’t know how to be. If he did he might not have remarked on the fact that all the characters in the drama are from good old English stock (which is mostly French if you go back far enough), are not from ethnic minorities and (be brave) have white skins. And he thinks that’s ok because it fits in with the fictional, yes fictional, setting, situations and storylines. Which it kind of does. There are villages that are virtually entirely populated by white skinned ‘old english’ folk, whether or not the over-sensitive fusspots like it. And bearing in mind that the programme has been going for 14 series, has been sold to over 200 countries, is hugely popular and successful, and has never been the subject of complaints, Mr True-May is entitled to say what he thinks makes it tick.

But the race card has been played and he has been suspended. Pending what ? A full confession ? An apology to er… er… ? There is nobody to apologise to because, in 14 series, nobody has been offended, or if they have they have kept very quiet about it. Now there is a controversy, contrived by the production company out of nothing, the bandwagons will start to roll and the bleeding hearts will jump on. But they get it wrong. Surely we have progressed beyond needing a quota of different ethnicities on every TV programme, whatever its context. Racism against ethnic minorities is not a big problem in this country but igniting a debate about trivial race issues will ensure that it becomes one.

Most viewers never really noticed the skin colour of the actors and wouldn’t care. I have noticed though that there are very few children in the villages; I suggest 2.4 per household would be about right.



At July 03, 2011 2:24 pm , Anonymous Anonymous said...

good start


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home