Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Creative Diversity Network, or Cultural Diversity Network as it was known until September 2011, held its award ceremony last Tuesday.

When I contacted CDN in 2010 I was told by the Secretariat's Nick Sammons that the CDN dealt with issues around ethnic diversity, not sexual orientation. However, since then, the CDN claims "a broader remit than previously, to include all aspects of diversity." I have asked the BBC which aspects of the Diversity Pledge it has signed up to, and am awaiting a reply.

Tony Marchant's new drama Postcode is about the interaction between a number of teenagers living in the same part of town, but from very different backgrounds and cultures. The first episode was broadcast on the same day as the CDN Awards.

Jamal, a refugee from Somalia, and Zac, who is white and attends a posh school, first meet whilst browsing through an Arsenal FC magazine in a shop owned by Sheela's dad.

Jamal is about to steal the magazine, but Zac warns him about the CCTV camera. Zac gets hassled by gang leader Anthony outside the shop, but Jamal speaks up for Zac. We see the ups and downs of a developing friendship between the two, and how that ultimately helps to secure Jamal and his family's refugee status in the UK.

Postcode portrayed characters from diverse backgrounds, but as I feared it was one further demonstration that BBC children's TV is still failing to address the portrayal of LGB people. In fact the short series took us no further along that route than did the Sadie J comedy series broadcast earlier this year.

A Newsround Special: Welcome to My World was about two boys from Lewisham, Sachen and Patric, who agreed to live with each other's families for a few days. It was first broadcast immediately after Postcode.

This week there'll be a new documentary series about the working lives of kids from other countries: Show Me What You're Made Of. Also this week Ricky will present a special series of reports from the USA. He's been on a road trip, to find out what Americans think about Barack Obama three years after he became President. I'd say it's a pretty safe bet we'll hear absolutely nothing about LGBT rights, even though that's been a major area of political interest in the States.

At least two BBC employees have recently used the term 'pansy' in a pejorative sense on a social networking site, contrary to this part of BBC Editorial Guidelines. Will the Corporation treat these incidents seriously, as it undoubtedly would had racist terms been used instead?

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