Jimmy McGovern, a screen writer I have never heard of, who created dramas including Hillsborough, which I have also never heard of, has condemned “latte-drinking, pesto-eating middle-class” TV executives. Speaking from the Edinburgh Television festival, he further denounced the treatment of Britain’s working class as patronising and offensive.
At yesterday’s debate, the key focus was on whether TV executives and programme makers were exploiting the working classes. Several highly self-important people led a discussion on whether the white working class was the only group left that it was acceptable to ridicule openly. Ignoring the irony of doing so in a forum entitled “Chav TV”.
Reality television shows such as Wife Swap, Big Brother and others consisting of working-class participants were the focus of most criticism, but comedy programmes such as Little Britain also came under the censor of the group for trying to milk a laugh from the peasant underbelly of society.
McGovern accused industry executives of treating their audience with contempt: “Normally, they would look to people on the left to speak up for them, but they haven’t. Because they’re not sexy. Unlike black lesbians, white, working-class men aren’t sexy. So they are either ignored or patronised.”
The RCC, of course, commends public denunciations of PC favouritism, but it must be pointed out that there is nothing sexy about black lesbians, nothing sexy at all.
Demonstrating a remarkable grasp of modern marketing strategy, he continued: “These executives don’t sit around and say, what kind of intelligent, informative, thought-provoking programmes would we like to watch? They think, what will the ignorant plebs that watch our channel want to see?”
A YouGov survey released at the event showed that most people in the television industry think that Vicky Pollard, the teenage delinquent happy to swap her baby for a Westlife CD, is an accurate representation of the white working class in Britain.
The study found that 70% of industry representatives thought the Little Britain character who smokes, drinks
and struggles to string a sentence together was a fairly typical reflection of the youth of today.
The poll also showed that 40% of viewers found the portrayal of the track-suited prole offensive; suggesting that some 28% find the working classes horrible and are offended at being presented with them.
Michael Collins, writer and presenter of Channel 4’s Working Class (and founder of the Irish Republic(, actress Sally Lindsay and freelance journalist and broadcaster Sarfraz Manzoor were also on the panel, chaired by writer and broadcaster Mark Lawson.
I have never heard of any of these people.