Meera Syal on lack of Asian people on British TV

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‘Goodness Gracious Me’ actor Meera Syal has spoken about the diminishing number of Asian people on British television.

Talking to Radio Times, Syal believes that British television has moved backwards with the way Asians are being represented currently. She said, “I think we’ve slightly gone backwards. Some of the stuff I’d want to have on TV wouldn’t get on at the moment.”

She added, “It’s a conservative climate with lots of period pieces and lots of nostalgia. When people think of stuff with South Asians in, it tends to be programmes like the upcoming Rochdale abuse drama [Three Girls]. Of course it’s not like those things don’t happen, but if that’s all that TV is doing, it looks like that’s the only thing Asians do.

“It’s a problem. If there were five or six or seven shows on TV featuring South Asians, then absolutely Rochdale is a worthy subject to investigate – but it’s about context. We should also be thinking about stories that just show us as people, not issues.”

Media Guardian reports that the BBC recently announced 14.5% of its on- and off-screen staff were from black and minority ethnic backgrounds.

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