Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 24

Thread: Early 'multicultural' TV programmes

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Posts
    704

    Default Early 'multicultural' TV programmes

    Were there any 'multicultural' TV programmes either intended to be watched by kids from foreign backgrounds and non-Christian religions or those intended for white British kids to learn about foreign cultures and non-Christian religions from the 1970s to the early 1990s with the exception of schools programmes?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Location
    UK Newcastle
    Posts
    113

    Default Re: Early 'multicultural' TV programmes

    You and me with Cosmo and dibs used to look at culture a bit I think I remember but it was usually just videos of something like a British family celebrating ramedan or Jewish festivals.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    261

    Default Re: Early 'multicultural' TV programmes

    Yes, indeed there were.

    A certain Channel Four was initially set up to cater to minority interests; Black /Asian / Gay / Lesbian / Disabled / any alternative lifestyle and interest in fact. Unfortunately since the heady days of 1982 when the channel began, it has lapsed into the world of awful cheapo "reality" programming like Big Brother and Benefit Street.

    Even further back in the late 1970s, the sadly defunct ITV London region channel called LWT (London Weekend Television) used to show special programmes for minorities as part of its LMU (London Minorities Unit) schedule. These focused on issues affecting the Black Asian and gay communities. Series that I recall were "Skin" featuring Black and Asian themes, and "Gay Life" for Lesbian and Gay issues.

    As far as religions go, LWT used to show a Sunday evening series called "Credo".

    Sadly, there is nothing like these alternatives on TV at present. A real step backward in my view.
    Last edited by agfagaevart; 10-08-2015 at 13:57.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Posts
    704

    Default Re: Early 'multicultural' TV programmes

    Channel 4 was set up to function as an outlet for independent programme makers. At the time the BBC and ITV companies preferred to show either their own programmes or foreign programmes that they assumed would be popular which acted as a barrier to independent British programme makers who wanted their programmes broadcast.

    Can you name any of these multicultural programmes shown on Channel 4?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    261

    Default Re: Early 'multicultural' TV programmes

    Quote Originally Posted by Arran View Post
    Channel 4 was set up to function as an outlet for independent programme makers. At the time the BBC and ITV companies preferred to show either their own programmes or foreign programmes that they assumed would be popular which acted as a barrier to independent British programme makers who wanted their programmes broadcast.
    Not entirely true; Channel Four was supposed to be an alternative to the publicly funded BBC, and the advertising funded (on the whole) ITV network. Part of Four's remit was to produce programming which catered to a neglected minority audience - And the channel was heavily criticized for it. When Michael Grade left the BBC and took over Channel Four from Jeremy Isaacs, he was dubbed the Pornographer-in-cheif by a certain newspaper, because the channel dared to show films which the other stations would not touch during its "Red Triangle" season of films back in the late 1980s, and its Banned Season in the 1990s. Of course these films were meant to boost flagging audience figures, which they certainly did, but were tedious to watch to be honest. But one thing that C4 was good at when it started in 1982, which most other channels at the time could care less about was catering to it's "minority" audiences.

    As far as independant programme makers not having their output broadcast, the contrary was more often the case, as proved by the female duo Linda Agran and Verity Lambert, who produced shows such as Minder during the late 1970s.

    C4 made programmes such as Black On Black, a current affairs show hosted by Pauline Black (of The Selector Ska Group) which profiled issues affecting those of Caribbean origin. Eastern Eye and Bandung File covered subjects affecting viewers from the Indian subcontinent. There were also programmes dedicated to Black music such as Club Mix, Solid Soul, and a short-lived British version of Soul Train. In 1983 Channel Four commissioned No Problem, probably the first sitcom with an all black cast since LWT's The Fosters in the 1970s. It transmitted The Cosby Show which the other channels failed to purchase from America, and earned high ratings in return. It also purchased a talk show by a woman unknown to the UK called Oprah Winfrey. More homegrown talent appeared in the sitcom Desmond's back in the 1990s. These were also viewed and enjoyed by mainstream audiences.

    Although the other stations made various attempts to present different lifestyles and cultures in the past, such as the BBC's all black drama Empire Road, these programmes were not often given more than one series.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Stockport
    Posts
    4,955

    Default Re: Early 'multicultural' TV programmes

    I remember reading that the BBC planned to do another "urban" soap like drama to replace Empire Road in the early 1980s, but it didn't get past the planning stage.

    some of the ideas might have gone into Eastenders, & they planning got as far as commissioning a theme tune, which was used by Sorry, which is why it sounds quite reggae like.
    The Trickster On The Roof

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    261

    Default Re: Early 'multicultural' TV programmes

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard1978 View Post
    I remember reading that the BBC planned to do another "urban" soap like drama to replace Empire Road in the early 1980s, but it didn't get past the planning stage.
    I think that the Beeb got cold feet, and just did not want to handle anymore shows like Empire Road, until they did Black Silk in the '80s. That only lasted one series. At least The Chinese Detective had two!

    ...some of the ideas might have gone into Eastenders, & they planning got as far as commissioning a theme tune, which was used by Sorry, which is why it sounds quite reggae like.
    Sorry but, that is preposterous!
    Eastenders has never been good for black actors - As they often have to portray fools. As far as themes go, there was a trend for reggae-fied TV music in the early '80s, ala Berjerac.

    When Norman Beaton appeared on the BBC's series Black & White in Colour, a tribute to blacks on British television shown in the 1990s, he said that LWT never repeated the Fosters series, and he couldn't understand why they didn't make anymore because, it was a hit show!
    Last edited by agfagaevart; 20-08-2015 at 11:34.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Posts
    704

    Default Re: Early 'multicultural' TV programmes

    Was there anything for kids?

    The aforementioned programmes reinforce my theory that in the 1970s and 80s the media had a mindset that you were either black or white, and multicultural / ethnic programming was biased towards blacks over other races and identifiable ethnic groups. Were there programmes aimed specifically at non-Christian religious audiences or was religion intermixed and conflated with culture? An example of this are pan-Asian programmes that assumes all Muslims are Asians and ignores those who aren't that usually have no interest or understanding of Sikh and Hindu religious and cultural practices.

    Something that seems to have been overlooked by media analysts is that Thames Television was notable for having a large and increasing proportion of people of foreign origin within its territory, but it was an audience that they largely ignored. They preferred to take advantage of their size and influence by producing popular prime time programmes for a white British audience rather than specialist niche programmes for viewers in their own local territory. There is a conspiracy theory that Thames Television was dismissed by the ITC as a punishment for showing the highly controversial documentary Death on the Rock but I can't help wondering if the way they ignored viewers of foreign origin also brought about their demise. Its successor Carlton was publisher broadcaster so the ITC at the time might have hoped that it would have broadcast independently produced programmes for people of foreign origin whereas Thames would have continued to be as British as the bulldog.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Stockport
    Posts
    4,955

    Default Re: Early 'multicultural' TV programmes

    I remember sunday morning show Umbrella being a sort of multicultural programme if the "hands of all races" title sequence was anything to go by.
    The Trickster On The Roof

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Posts
    704

    Default Re: Early 'multicultural' TV programmes

    I award you a virtual gold medal for finding what must be the most obscure and forgotten children’s television programme!!!

    Umbrella is listed in BBC Genome and it was broadcast on BBC1 at 9:15AM on Sunday mornings from 28th December 1986 to 1st October 1989, plus another short series from 15th July 1990 to 16th September 1990.

    This was a timeslot when lots of kids watched TV but there doesn’t appear to be anything on the internet about it except a few brief mentions of the name on the Wikipedia page of the presenter Bryan Murray; on Church Times in an article about a lack of religious programmes for kids; and at TV Forum in a discussion Forgotten children’s television programmes. There are no episodes uploaded onto YouTube.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bryan_Murray_%28actor%29


    http://www.churchtimes.co.uk/articles/2005/21-october/comment/why-is-there-no-religious-tv-for-kids


    http://www.tvforum.co.uk/tvhome/forgotten-childrens-television-programmes-24641/page-8


    There’s also a book “50 Stories for Assembly” (Heinemann Assembly Resources) taken from those in Umbrella.

    The series covers a variety of religions although I suspect that kids of non-Christian religions were more likely to have watched Umbrella than (white British?) kids who were Christian or not religious – at least the episodes that focused on their own religion.

Similar Threads

  1. Programmes
    By foxy in forum Television
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: 28-05-2018, 09:26
  2. Old Programmes
    By amethyst in forum Television
    Replies: 24
    Last Post: 30-08-2014, 13:11
  3. Old Cooking programmes
    By amethyst in forum Television
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 20-08-2014, 07:07
  4. tv programmes
    By wfs in forum Television
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 24-03-2010, 09:40
  5. Two Programmes
    By owen30 in forum Television
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 23-07-2008, 15:10

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •