I do hope next week's Radio 4 Appeal will be on behalf of a charity that helps newspaper critics recover from watching BBC TV programmes. I for one would donate, especially after reading Camilla Long's deeply moving column in today's The Sunday Times:
There’s no shortage of programmes about race on television — turn on any channel and you will see Samuel L Jackson flying to Gabon or someone in a slavery drama having their skin flayed off. This month alone there has been Lenny Henry on the Caribbean [BBC Two] and a decent new iteration of the reality show Back in Time for Birmingham, about Asians [also BBC Two]. Our televisions are host to a dizzying range of what producers believe are provocative takes on race and diversity, except none of them is surprising, curious or even new.
None of these programmes says anything different; none of them deviates from the blunt narrative that, for a minority, life is appalling and must be turned into a fetishised form of entertainment. No one white is ever seen as anything except cynical or ill-educated, even though the vast majority of these programmes are produced by concerned white people for concerned white people. Frankly, it’s a nightmare to review them.
I'm so glad I'm not a newspaper critic.