Sunday, October 07, 2012

Correspondence with the BBC is frequently met with a thank you for getting in touch, and a promise that concerns have been logged and passed on. So it came as something of a welcome surprise when I received a more thoughtful and courteous, if somewhat belated, response to my latest email about continuing discrimination on children's services.

My enquiry was sent on 20th August, and detailed reasons for concluding that BBC children's TV is still not inclusive. Although three different programmes were cited in my message, the BBC's reply only responded to what I had to say about the first series of Leonardo. According to the programme's executive producer, whilst Lisa is clearly in love with Leonardo, he remains "sublimely unaware" of Lisa’s crush. The subtext is that he does not respond to her sexually, although he does recognise her feminine beauty which, as an artist, of course he would appreciate.

The Corporation's reply, dated 2nd October, ended with an assurance that they "are always thinking about the portrayal of sexuality in CBBC programming." It remains to be seen how "thinking about" the portrayal of sexuality in CBBC programming will yield concrete results in terms of diversity and inclusiveness.

One of the best new series on CBBC must surely be Wolfblood, in which Rhydian and Maddy are striving, against the odds, to stop their friends from finding out who they really are - wolfbloods. Allegories are fine, but aren't they just a way of not dealing with real life? There's tonnes of hetero love and romance on CBBC but lesbian and gay equivalents are avoided.

Newsround is still showing those clips of celebrities talking about their time at school: When I Was 10. Today Lemar Obika was answering the questions. Lemar was one of the contestants from the BBC's Fame Academy series 1, and has a new album, Invincible, out tomorrow. Amongst the questions put to him was "Did you fancy anyone at school?" He said he had a few crushes, including one girl who lived along his street.

Alex Parks won Fame Academy series 2, but because she was a proud lesbian, the media, including the BBC, treated her very differently, and effectively stifled her career. A CBBC interview on 14th November 2003 presumably contributed to her disillusionment.

In February 2006 Alex wrote "...A lot of you have asked if I'm disappointed with the way my record releases have gone and of course I am. I've had almost no support from the media - hardly any coverage on the radio and TV or in the press and whether that's because they don't like my music, or they don't like me, or maybe because I came from a reality TV programme - I don't know. ..."

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