Race and Ethnicity in UK Film and TV
– 1936; BBC first transmitted television on 2nd of November. However it was first in the 1950’ that it became installed on a wide-scale basis. This is important to the topic because at the same time there was a serious increase of immigrants from Africa, Asia and the Caribbean, and the presence of media in people’s everyday life helped produce a divide between life and art, and between media and the Black-British ethnicity.
– 1958; Tension in Nottingham and Notting Hill. Notting Hill Race Riot – series of racially-motivated riots. Because of the end of war there was an increase of Caribbean immigrants coming to Britain. The White Defence League urged residents to ‘Keep Britain white’. During this summer there were attacks on black people. Majbritt Morrison was one of those attacked during the riots. She later wrote a biography called Jungle West 11 which was an account for her events.
– 1955; TV documentary, Special Enquiry: Has Britain a Colour Bar? BBC special enquiry investigates racial prejudice. Suggested a culture difference rather than racism. Is relevant to the topic because it was the first full-length television documentary to deal with any problems faced by Black immigrants in Britain.
– 1953-1961; Asian Club. Relevant because it was the first programme to recognise that a time for specific racial audience should be created. However in this programme the difference of the Asian immigrants was always central and focused on in the show.
– 1966-74; BBC sitcom Till Death Do Us Part. This was a programme that raised debate amongst the public about representations of race. You could either understand it as very racist or anti-racist, or even something in between the two. The creator Johnny Speight said that the main character’s bigotry was something he was actively working against.
– 1982; Formation of Channel 4. This was relevant because black programming got built into the structure of Channel 4. For the first time someone actually appointed to broadcast programmes for a British audience that were non-White, they provided an alternative to the already existing programmes. The remit required them to make the programmes suitable also for minority groups.