Television programming and social impact
in Paving the empire road
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This chapter provides an analysis of race and BBC television policy with a discussion of early Black images on BBC television, and the decisions that led to their appearances. This includes icons such as African-Americans Elisabeth Welch and Adelaide Hall, as compared to West Indian performers Edric Connor, Boscoe Holder and others. Efforts undertaken by the service to educate further audiences on racial issues as a social concern included the first television talks regarding the scientific origins of race, and subsequent audience surveys. Heading the effort were former radio producers Grace Wyndham Goldie and Mary Adams. In turn, Goldie, serving as Assistant Head of Talks, helped to develop the first television programme of its kind, race and colour. The teleplay examined the experiences of newly arrived West Indian immigrants from ‘their’ perspectives but was transmitted to mixed reviews, this time from West Indian audiences. As the BBC continued to consider how television could assist West Indian communities in their efforts to assimilate, the service began to document the appearance of African-Caribbeans within BBC programming, a response to criticisms about stereotyping and limited portrayals. television policy; Black images; racial issues; social concern; audience surveys; stereotyping

Paving the empire road

BBC television and Black Britons

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