In Parliament this week (10/04/14) Gareth Thomas MP called for a fairer representation of Tamil, East Asian and other ethnic minorities in the media.
He highlighted in particular the lack of ethnic minorities in the UK’s top soaps Eastenders and Coronation Street.
Speaking in the House of Commons, Gareth Thomas said:
“I rarely see Tamil actors and actresses on our TV screens, which is disappointing given the size of the Tamil community. British East Asians are the third largest minority ethnic group in Britain today, but that is simply not reflected on our screens and stages. In nearly 30 years, Eastenders has had only one regular East Asian character, a young female DVD seller who lasted just six months. Given that the east end of London remains one of our most ethnically diverse areas, it is a little odd that Albert square has not had so much as even the proverbial cliché of a Chinese takeaway. Coronation Street also has a disappointing record. It waited until 2011 before it had an East Asian character, who lasted just four months. Hospital dramas such as “Casualty”, “Doctors” and “Holby City” are similarly disappointing. Given the number of East Asians working in our hospitals, including in senior roles, that is somewhat at odds with the reality of the very diverse work force in the NHS.”