The BBC is inviting contributions for multicultural sitcom scripts. Trying to rid itself of its whiteness, and going one step further in its metaphor for multiculturalism than the one often heard in Germany “between two chairs”, it’s calling the competition “All Mixed-Up” (info available here from 31 August).
The Guardian reckons the title is “only slightly partonising”:
Appearance: Hideously white.
How exactly do you measure the age of a genre? Easy. Just lazily disregard radio as a medium and begin with the first ever television sitcom.
Which was? Pinwright’s Progress, the story of shopkeeper Mr J Pinwright and his useless employees. Broadcast live on the BBC in 1946, it was never recorded and has been lost forever. Since then, British sitcoms have been set in houses, offices, hospitals, prisons, buses and, on occasion, space.
So do we still need them now they’re 64? Of course. We just need them to be a bit less white and middle-class.
Says who? The BBC. It has launched a competition for multicultural sitcom scripts, under the only slightly patronising title All Mixed-Up. The idea is to do away with the perception that the BBC is “a closed door for writers who are not necessarily white middle-class”.
And why would people think that? Perhaps because the only notable British sitcom about a non-white family was The Crouches in 2003, which followed the lives of a black working-class south London family as imagined by a white middle-class Glaswegian screenwriter.