Picture: Patrick Truman, courtesy of the BBC.
Hang on to your hats folks, apparently tonight's episode of Eastenders will feature an all black cast. According to various media sources Patrick Truman (played by Rudolph Walker) will school Chelsea (Tiani Benjamin) about the harsh realities that Caribbean immigrants endured upon arrival to 50's Britain. In the spirit of the good old fashioned Eastenders monologue Patrick will apparently make reference to the Notting Hill race riots, Martin Luther King, and racist slogans such as 'Keep Britain White'. The Sun newspaper claim that although the BBC haven't advertised it as an 'all black episode', there won't be a word uttered from a non-black barmaid, shopkeeper or passer-by, which suggests that the Beeb have done a U turn in their decision to promote it for some reason.. Mmm, it's a bit of a weird one. As it's only being publicised/leaked now, I'm for once going to agree with the Sun. And while this gallant effort by the programme makers should ignite some sort of excitement within me, on the contrary, my mind is on standby, gearing up to go into cringe mode.
For the uninitiated, Eastenders is one of the UK's longest running soap operas. However, their track record in race representations leaves a lot to be desired due to their heavy reliance on racial caricatures & stereotypes. In the past couple of years alone we've had Gus the dustbin man/Gary the drug dealer/Patrick the nice but dim jolly man from di islands/Denise, the archetypal angry black woman... You catch my drift.