ClassActivist Comment

BBC Creative Diversity Report

Report finds British TV portrays the working-classes ‘negatively and fuelled by stereotypes’

ClassActivist Comment:

Middle class TV entertainment show gatekeepers employing privately-educated middle class presenters to humiliate, de-humanise and shame working class 'guests' for years on end until someone eventually ends their own life, yet shaming of the working class and turning working class status from something of pride and strength into an object of derision just shifts into another TV format, curated by and filling the pockets of yet more middle class people. Privately educated Kyle, who reportedly left his wife for his children's nanny, apparently saw no irony or contradiction in heading up the viciously inhuman show. Steve Dymond took a fatal morphine overdose only days after appearing on the show by Kyle. At the hearing that followed (for which Mr Kyle declined to give a view) Mr Dymond's council (Gallagher) shared that the audience had "booed and jeered" Dymond while he was "called a failure" by Kyle, who had been "in his face". She continued that Dymond had attempted to leave through a side door but found it locked. Gallagher remarked: "He couldn’t escape the heckling. He was on his hands and knees because he thought he was going to pass out from the stress.”

An ex runner from the show described how alcohol was available on-tap to guests from as early as 9am for the three to four shows a day recorded. They reflected how guests had been assigned runners to keep them strictly separate from rivals in order to prevent them from reconciling prior to the show and were wound-up in order to create the most explosive atmosphere possible once filming commenced.

As Dr Lisa McKenzie points out in our discussion on Praxis TV, the recent shame-faced about-turn of the BBC in creating a more BAME-representative public identity and presenter team has not extended to people from working class backgrounds of any ethnicity.

It would be good to know what proportion of respondents to the survey were likely themselves to have been from working class and low income backgrounds. However, someone taking their own life should provide enough of an indicator that any mainstream channel pumping out blatant ridicule and othering needs taking off air. This would not be permitted with regards gender, race, LGBT+ status or disability and for the same good reasons it should not be permitted with regards social class.