Interesting article from Mark Lawson on the self-censorship that some of the BBC writers went through recently, specifically Ashley Pharoah, co-creator of hit series Life On Mars.
They knew that making Philip Glenister’s character DCI Gene Hunt likeable was the key to a successful show. This meant that racist comments, which let’s face it in 1973 would have been the norm, were removed, but homophobic and sexist comments were kept in.
This is a strange situation. No-one would deny that racist comments on a primetime BBC TV drama series would be seen with a very dim view, but is homophobia any better? Or the blatant sexism aimed at DC Annie Cartwright?
There has been a wave of nostalgia for the 70s recently, fuelled by the likes of Life On Mars, despite the decade being pretty grim for the most part: three-day week; strikes galore; prejudice, so why shouldn’t a series like Life On Mars reflect the true horror of the decade.
The irony is, if they’d had a black character who was equally racist, they’d have probably got away with it. Is that double standards?