The wrong sort of diversity

The BBC has made an effort in recent years to portray characters in contemporary drama who just happen to be black, Muslim, homosexual or disabled. How often do you see a character in a drama who just happens to be Christian? Those Christians you do get in BBC drama come in two types. Both can be illustrated by examples from EastEnders: we have long had the slightly mad old dear, but some sort of diversity audit must have thrown up concerns that Christians were too often portrayed as elderly white Anglicans with comedy hypochondria. Ever-attentive to these issues, the BBC brought in a handsome young Pentecostalist minister who leaves his ex-wife to die, murders his wife’s ex-husband, drowns his son’s dog, strangles his wife, kills another woman who looks like his new wife, writes mad religious ravings on his cell wall in his own blood but is black. Ethnic minority: tick one, Britain’s thriving black inner city churches represented on screen: tick two.

Complaints of under-representation from the General Immoderator of the Church of Generalised Christian Fanatics have been dismissed by the BBC Trust after a spokesman pointed out that, in addition to Lucas Johnson cited above, we have in the last few years had the Christian fanatic from ‘Bonekickers’, the Christian pro-life terrorists in the opening episode of Spooks, and the pro-life fanatics in ‘Hunter’ who kidnap children and inject them with lethal drugs – of whom BBC Controller Kate Harward said that the show was based on “the day to day detail of the real world”. Really? I am not aware that there has ever been any anti-abortion terrorism in Britain ever. Aha, but what about America? BBC writers all believe that murders of people who carry out abortions occur every month or so in the US; in fact there have been two in the last thirteen years.

What set off this post, my first in a while for Biased BBC, was an email from a correspondent and Beeb-watcher going way back. (Please say if you want your name cited.) He wrote, “I just saw this from Barnabas Fund, a charitable organization that raises awareness, support and helps care for Christians undergoing persecution worldwide” and sends this link: The BBC is anti-Christian according to its own survey.

They noticed! Briefly.

Here it is. It has a boring title, “Development of a BBC Diversity Strategy: Summary of Responses to Public and Staff Consultations”. Perhaps that is why the BBC appear to have taken one look, yawned, and forgotten it. It does not exactly admit the BBC bias but the authors have gone out of their way to mention the portrayal of Christians as a recurring concern. It was leaked to the Daily Mail, and according to Harry Phibbs of that journal, the leak prompted a zinger of a response from a spokesman. He said the BBC had “strict editorial guidelines”. The existence of guidelines is not in itself considered sufficient to dismiss accusations of other types of offence against diversity.

(Apologies if this has been mentioned before – I do not recall seeing it on the main blog, but might have missed it. A Google search shows that it did come up on a Biased BBC message board, but I haven’t mastered message boards.)

There is much else of interest in the leaked document. And some things that are just strange. One female member of staff says that she has heard that a “senior member of staff in Development only employs ‘good looking people’”

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30 Responses to The wrong sort of diversity

  1. David Preiser (USA) says:

    Well said, Natalie.  So some Beeboids actuallly agree with what many on the blog have been saying for years, citing loads of evidence to support the contention.

    I think I’m going to start using that “strict guidelines” defense myself.

    “I didn’t rob that bank, officer, there are laws against it.”


  2. Phil says:

    Even if the manufacturers of Eastenders introduced a normal Christian family the characters would have to start killing, kidnapping, blackmailing and becoming involved in ‘who is the father of the baby’ storylines to fit in with the rest of the cast.

    The only question we need to ask about Eastenders is why our government approves the use of about £20million of our tax money on it every year. The government is under no obligation to give the money raised from the tax on TV use to the BBC. 

    My severely autistic nephew needs one to one help at school. The local council says it costs too much and might need to end it because of the cutbacks.

    How many one to one school helpers could we hire for £20 million?


  3. james1070 says:

    I haven’t watched East Enders for years but this Lucas Johnson charater looks a hoot. They should have given him his own TV series! But you are right the BBC would not portray a certain other imigrant religion in the same way.


  4. cjhartnett says:

    Thanks for this Natalie.
    After Rowans pro-Labour twaddle last week, I did say that there are little matters like Sudan, Pakistan and Saudi he could be shaking his little fist at instead-problems of a different stripe to whether Dave or Ed will force Christians off the telly and out of fostering and classrooms etc. Both do-both will.
    To be fair(and who knows?…he might read these blogs) he has said something in his guarded way about Syria/Egypt etc. since then…but unsurprisingly it didn`t crawl onto the 6pm news and stay there like his anti-Tory musings did.

    Rowan and the other appeasers need to know that Christians are going the way of all the other useless and irrelevant forces of conservatism that dare to stand up to the political arm of the British people. Guardian in one hand, and TV licence in the other-with a brick for the offices of the Daily Mail if a deal can be struck on Shepherds Bush Green!

    Time for Christians to enforce their quotas of suitable role models that don`t do down the perception of their faith in all BBC portrayals.
    Time for us to want more than Dot or Dibley-Cliff or Aled. Time to withold our TV Licence money and re lead the roofs of our churches with the money saved!


  5. Demon1001 says:

    The BBC argument is that as they show Songs of Praise for 30 minutes per week, they CANNOT be accused of anti-Christian bias.  With the implication that there are other religions (one anyway) that should be equally as well represented.

    They miss the point, (deliberately) of course. as SoP is on at such an obscure time that only the most dedicated will bother to find it.  Whereas all the negative portrayals of Christians is all-pervading in many programmes, and only gets a good mention when idiots like Williams attacks the coalition.

    The Spooks episodes mentioned which portray Christians as evil megalomaniacs killing peaceful members of the Religion of Peace reminds me of how they portray the Middle East situation.  The Israelis are portrayed as manipulative, always looking to perpetuate violence and will not negotiate peace at any price, whereas the poor “Palestinians” are always trying to find ways to achieve peace even though they have great reasons (like their families being wiped out by the IDF blowing up their houses wantonly).  


    • Demon1001 says:

      ..great reasons not to.


    • Grant says:

      And notice that “Songs of Praise” is at a different time every Sunday, for no apparent reason.


    • Paddy says:

      To quote Hairspray ( the musical)

      ‘and once a month we have our Negro day’

      Songs of praise is a ghetto. ‘Push the god botherers into the reservation and we can have the rest of the week to push whatever ‘liberal’ crap we want’


  6. dave s says:

    Perhaps anti Christian is the wrong charge. Anti Western culture more like and as Christianity is at the basis of our culture it will naturally follow that Christianity is portrayed so negatively.
    The modern liberal’s loathing of his own culture will be a study for future historians.
    I  imagine the liberal feels  profound distaste for that which cossets and nourishes him but is just not so exciting and just not ” hopey changey” enough for his refined taste.
    Childish of course and ultimately dangerous as unless a culture is preserved and nurtured it will eventually be replaced by another.
    And that other might turn out to be very nasty indeed.


    • Dez says:

      Dave S,

      When talking about “Western Culture” do mean British culture or Spanish culture? English culture or Irish? Lancashire or Yorkshire? Catholic or Protestant? Does it exclude the Jewish influence, or the Indian, or Chinese?

      Which version of British culture do you want to preserve; the one we have today, one we had 50 years ago, or 150 years ago?


      • Demon1001 says:

        Dezzie again ignoring the meat of the discussion, i.e. that which is indefensible.  Instead raising points about nothing.  When will you discuss any of the real issues on this Dez?

        Cough, cough.  Tumbleweed rolls lazily by.


        • Dez says:

          Huh? I was asking Dave S (who was part of the discussion) some questions – is that not allowed?

          You want me to comment on the original post? Fine.

          No facts, no statistics, just a list of four BBC programmes (dating back to 2002) which supposedly showed christians in a less than favourable light.

          “Eastenders” had a mad Christian. His victim was portrayed as a good Christian as were three other regular cast members who attended his meetings. Apparently they are not worth a mention.

          “Bonekickers” had a mad Christian but “the team” also supposedly found evidence of Jesus’ crucifixion in a field somewhere. Is that pro or anti-Christian?

          “Spooks” had an episode about Christian terrorists in 2002. It also had an episode about Muslim terrorists in 2003. Apparently not worth a mention.

          Likewise the BBC had a 6 part series “Apparitions” in 2008 with a Christian priest as the hero. Apparently not worth a mention.

          Biased evidence; biased conclusions; Biased BBC.


      • Grant says:

        How would you define “British Culture”  today ?


      • Paddy says:

        Dez, when you cook a chilli you add a pinch of sugar but overall the whole mix tastes savoury. Equally the uk has many religions and cultures but overall it is Christian and northern European.

        I am a catholic and accept that the uk is a Protestant country. It doesn’t mean I feel excluded it just informs the way the majority think.

        One consequence of living in a ‘catholic lite’ (anglican) country is I am free to practice my religion and for that i am gratefull , however the Anglican ethos of acceptance of other does mean that they get walked on and bullied by people with more strident views.It is this ‘Anglican insecurity’ which pervades the beeb, allowing rent a crowd , whether LGBT, Islamist or militant secularist to have undue influence and airtime.

        I am very proud of the country of my birth but sometimes I just wish it would get a backbone


      • dave s says:

        An extraordinary question that could only have been asked in the dying days of the cultural and moral relatavists whose ascendancy is coming to a well deserved end . For now they still hold sway but only for now.
        A few names. men from different “cultures” as you would perhaps say.
        Dante, Cervantes, Shakespeare, The Master Masons who built Salisbury Cathedral, Mozart, Milton, Elgar, Newton Einstein and so many more.
        They are all part of our civilisation . Different tongues and views but all from the same mould  that has created our superb inheritance.
        You should be proud of it. It is worth defending


  7. The Cattle Prod of Destiny says:

    Harry Phibbs works for the Daily Mail?

    Shurely shome mishtake?


  8. George R says:

    For censoring, pro-Islam, anti-Christian INBBC:

    ‘Look inside’ this book-

    ‘The Myth of Islamic Tolerance’


    • Dez says:

      Here’s another book for you George:

      Just replace every mention of the word “Jew” with the word “Muslim” and you’ll absolutely love it.

      “Judaism is a totalitarian ideology that aims to control the religious, social, and political life of mankind in all its aspects…”

      “The struggle for world domination will be fought entirely between us, between Western democracy and Islamism…”

      Spot the difference? No? Wonder why?


      • Barry says:

        So Islam isn’t a problem for Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Sikhs, Hindus, women or Gays?

        Thank you for pointing that out. Big relief all round.


      • ltwf1964 says:

        oh,the stupidity of the beboid reaches new heights

        let me explain in simple words how what dezzie the troll has just spewed forth is utter crap……just like everything else he comes out with

        picture linked  showsWaffen SS troops in the Albanian Battalion of the Handzar Division, wearing SS-issued Albanian skullcaps, Bosnia, 1944.×215.jpg

        the Waffen SS enlarged its ranks to include 60,000 Islamic SS. The Waffen SS respected their way of life, their customs, and their religious beliefs. Each Islamic SS battalion had an imam, each company had a mullah. It was our common wish that their qualities found their highest expression. “

        SS Reichsfuehrer Heinrich Himmler formed a Kosovo Albanian Muslim Nazi SS Division during World War II, the Skanderbeg SS Division, 21st Waffen Mountain Division of the SS Skanderbeg (1st Albanian), in 1944. He planned to form a second Kosovo Albanian Muslim SS Division but was not able to because the war ended before he could do so. The history of the Skanderbeg division has been documented and analyzed. What has rarely been analyzed, however, is the role of the Kosovo Albanian Muslim members in the Bosnian Muslim Nazi SS Division Handzar or Handschar. This is an untold story of World War II.

        so the analogy used is typical cloud cuckoo land crap……as usual


      • Paddy says:

        I thought it was us foam mouthed right wingers who were supposed to resort to nazi parrallels.

        Cheap sad desperate.

        Making Islam sacrosanct and off limits for criticism fuels the extremists on both sides. It gives rise to the edl and reduces ‘racial harmony’.

        Denying fault didn’t help my religion.


      • George R says:

        You seem to know a lot about fascism, except the variety which Geert Wilders tries to talk about. And we know in what contempt INBBC hold Geert Wilders.


  9. ltwf1964 says:

    care for some more?

    From the Encyclopedia of Holocaust, Edition 1990, Vol. 2, page 704. The caption under the photograph reads: Hajj Amin al-Husseini, Mufti of Jerusalem, inspecting troops in Bosnia(1943).

    During the Second World War in Yugoslavia, as with the Catholic Church in Croatia, many Muslim clerics in Bosnia and Kosovo were willing accomplices in the genocide of the nations Serbian, Jewish and Roma population. From 1941 until 1945, the Nazi-installed regime of Ante Pavelic in Croatia carried out some of the most horrific crimes of the Holocaust (known as the Porajmos by the Roma), killing over 800,000 Yugoslav citizens – 750,000 Serbs, 60,000 Jews and 26,000 Roma. In these crimes, they were helped by Muslim fundamentalists in Bosnia and Kosovo who were openly supported by the Palestinian Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Hajj Amin al-Husseini. A notorious anti-Semite, he openly encouraged Muslims to join Nazi units that would be later implicated in genocide and crimes against humanity – the infamous Hanjar (or Handschar) 13th Waffen SS division. One of these crimes was the The Massacre at Koritska Jama Gorge, in Bosnia during 1941. The Nazi’s also established a puppet state in Serbia under General Milan Nedic, who along with the Cetniks also particapated in the Holocaust in wartime Croatia (which included Bosnia) and Serbia.
    What united al-Husseini and the Third Reich was a common hatred of the Jewish people.

    dez-you should hide your head in complete shame…..but as a fully paid up beeboid,you don’t know the meaning of the word


    • Grant says:

      Many muslims and muslim governments supported the Nazis, for obvious reasons.


      • ltwf1964 says:

        they had everything in common

        ie extermination of the jews

        much like they still hold to today


  10. Natalie Solent says:

    Dez writes, “Likewise the BBC had a 6 part series “Apparitions” in 2008 with a Christian priest as the hero. Apparently not worth a mention. “

    Uh Dez, you do realise that the daily parish routine of your average Christian priest does not involve battling an army of demons hell-bent on world domination, don’t you? Apparitions is great in a video-gamey sort of way, and I could watch Martin Shaw in anything, but are you seriously trying to tell me it belongs in a thread discussing whether the BBC’s portrayal of Christians is realistic?


    • Buggy says:

      “…I could watch Martin Shaw in anything..”

      Seriously Natalie ? Even Judge John Deed ? Blimey.


  11. Paddy says:

    Interesting bit on the survey.

    In the general public sample only 23% put no religion whereas in the beeb sample the amount was 50%

    Godless smug handwringing nihilistic hippy bastards


  12. Paddy says:

    Btw Dez, one way the left attack capitalism is to accuse pro capitalist bloggers of being in the pockets of ‘big oil’ ‘big pharma’ or ‘big agric’

    Well are you in the pocket of ‘big gay’ or as he should be known……Scott