Saturday, February 27, 2010

Jinx on CBBC - Episode 3 - Cookie Chips
Sydney in Australia is presently celebrating the city's LGBT Mardi Gras. But only a few days ago we saw a rather less positive image of Australia. The Senate there rejected a bid to legalise gay marriage by a large margin of 45 to 5.

In reality, despite its famous Sydney Mardi Gras, Australia is still quite a backward-looking country when it comes to equality and inclusiveness. Although lesbian and gay characters are occasionally seen on Australian dramas and soaps, their appearance is more often than not short-lived and arouses prejudice.

ITV's The Bill, which is also televised in Australia, used to have several lesbigay characters and storylines. Lance Powell and Mark Rollins' wedding (YouTube) was a landmark of British TV. However, from an economic point of view and in order to recoup costs, it makes sense that programmes can be marketed worldwide, and diversity can be a casualty.

The British Broadcasting Corporation's purpose is to make programmes for a British audience - the entire audience in all its diversity. Making money from overseas sales should be of secondary importance.

Jinx is currently being shown on CBBC. Jinx is made for the BBC by Kindle Entertainment which is signed up to the CDN Diversity Pledge. But, as we've seen, the reality is that diversity and international marketing are never easy to reconcile.

The screenshots above show a wall project about Australia. Visible on the board is a kangaroo, a koala bear, Uluru, a map of Australia, their flag, Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge. The wall board formed a backdrop to several scenes from episode 3, which is available here until 2 March 2010.

The BBC diversity strategy, adopted in 2005, is clear that leaders across the Organisation should be held accountable for making diversity happen in their part of the business. Diversity should be embedded into the key processes of programme making, creativity, service delivery and creating an inclusive workforce. So far there's been little sign of meaningful change to children's services, including Newsround and Sportsround.

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