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London, Friday, September 26, 2003

David Irving comments:


I SHARE Ludovic Kennedy's feelings, but perhaps I had better not say so out loud.

David Irving starts a new US tour this Fall 2003. Locations include: Atlanta, New Orleans, Houston, Arlington (TX), Oklahoma City, Albuquerque, Tucson, Phoenix, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland (Oregon), Moscow (Idaho), Sacramento, Las Vegas, Salt Lake City, Denver, Chicago, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Louisville. The theme is comparisons - Hitler, Churchill, Iraq, war crimes law, and Iraq. [register interest]

TV has too many ethnic minorities, says Ludovic Kennedy

By Shirin Aguiar

Ludovic KennedyONE of the BBC's most distinguished former broadcasters was criticised yesterday for claiming there were too many black people on television. Sir Ludovic Kennedy, 83, said that television in general had "more than its fair share of black participants", compared with the actual proportion of ethnic minorities in the UK population.

Sir Ludovic wrote: "I am all in favour of black advancement but there's now hardly a TV pub, police station, soap, vox pop or ad without rather more than its fair share of black participation."

His remarks, in a book review in The Oldie magazine, were criticised last night. A spokeswoman for the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) said:

"It is sad to see a well-known author and commentator like Ludovic Kennedy so misunderstand the realities of modern multiracial Britain.

"Black and Asian people are still distinctly, visibly and obviously disadvantaged."

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, a journalist and writer, said that his comments were totally unacceptable. "There is no excuse for it at all," she said.

"I'm appalled and it just shows what real attitudes in the establishment are. To me it is nothing other than racism. We are moving forward, unlike old fogeys like him."

Trevor Phillips, ITV's first black news presenter, said that Sir Ludovic's comments were not true: "There are vast areas of TV which hardly ever see a black face. Until quite recently you would be hard pushed to see an Asian on most news and current affairs programmes. When did you last see a Chinese person on any factual programme or drama?" Sir Ludovic has a reputation as a liberal campaigner through involvement with miscarriage of justice cases. His stance on race matters, however, has on occasions been at odds with his attitudes towards the legal system.

Two years ago he wrote in The Times in support of John Townend, a former Tory MP, who complained that "Commonwealth immigration" was undermining Britain's "homogenous Anglo-Saxon society". Sir Ludovic received support from an unexpected quarter last night. Raj Chandran, a former member of the CRE, said: "He may be right. The profile of Asian and blacks is enough to make us wonder if we are living in England.

"It gives an impression that we are overpowering ourselves with black and ethnic minority people."

Copyright 2003 Times Newspapers Ltd.

London, Friday, September 26, 2003

Ludovic Kennedy claims 'too many black faces on TV'

By Terry Kirby
Chief Reporter

SIR Ludovic Kennedy, the former broadcaster, author and veteran campaigner for liberal causes, caused astonishment yesterday by saying there were too many black people appearing in television programmes.

Writing in The Oldie magazine, Sir Ludovic, 83, said there was "rather more than its fair share' of black participation in television soaps, vox pops and advertising. He said political correctness had got "completely out of hand" and that the imbalance needed to be readjusted.

The comments shocked both broadcasters and broadcasting organisations. The BBC said it was "proud' to be committed to diversity and fairness, while Channel 4 said the comments were "ludicrous.' The Commission for Racial Equality said he had misunderstood the realities of multiracial Britain.

Sir Ludovic, who lives in Wiltshire, could not be contacted yesterday to clarify his comments, made in a review of The Fun Factory, A Life in the BBC, by Will Wyatt, the former managing director of BBC television.

He concluded his review writing:

"I'd like to take issue with Will when he says it was his aim to bring more blacks to the screen, in which it seems he has more than succeeded. I am all in favour of black advancement, but there's now hardly a TV, pub, police station, soap, vox pop or ad without rather more than its fair share of black participation."

"The Statistical Office tells me the proportion of all ethnic groups (blacks, Indians, Pakistanis, Asians) to whites in this country is no more than 7.5 per cent. Political correctness has got completely out of hand and requires that the imbalance be readjusted.'

A spokeswoman for the BBC, which recently began a new black sitcom, The Crouches, said: "The BBC has a duty to serve all of its audiences and although ethnic minorities make up 9 per cent of the UK population (4.6 million people, according to the 2001 census), some of our programmes - EastEnders, Holby City and Casualty for example - do have more than this representation. Alan YentobBut this is because these dramas are set in urban areas where people from ethnic minority backgrounds make up as much as 30 per cent of the population so it would seem unrealistic to the audiences watching these dramas without this variety of characters."

Alan Yentob, (left), the BBC's director of drama, entertainment and children's television, added: "I think Ludo is a great guy; but I don't agree with him on this at all. It's a very silly thing to say and - I don't want this to sound patronising at all - I think he needs to get out more."

Channel 4 said: "We do not think these comments justify a response. They are clearly ludicrous."

About 11 per cent of the channel's staff are from ethnic minorities, a figure it is anxious to increase. It requires commissioning editors to ensure about 10 per cent of all faces on screen are from ethnic minorities and a similar level is achieved in its workforce.



David Irving's comments in A Radical's Diary

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