Did BBC pass up All Creatures revamp because it was too WHITE? Channel 5 rakes in record 3.3m viewers for new series after corporation felt it wouldn’t appeal to prized millennial audience
- All Creatures Great And Small series has drawn millions of viewers to Channel 5
- Show’s producer has revealed that the BBC was given first refusal – but passed
- Sir Colin Callender said the BBC feared series would not appeal to millennials
- Channel 5 boss Ben Frow then said his programming is attacked as ‘white’
- The BBC is refusing to reveal if it rejected All Creatures for being ‘too white’
BBC bosses are refusing to reveal if they turned down Channel 5 hit All Creatures Great And Small because the series is ‘too white’.
The beloved Yorkshire-based story of veterinary surgeon James Herriot has drawn in three million viewers and is the broadcaster’s best-rated original commission ever.
But the show’s producer has revealed that the Corporation was given first refusal but passed on the series, fearing that it would not appeal to 16 to 34-year-old viewers.
The BBC, home to the original adaptation which aired in the 1970s and 1980s, reportedly said it would only make a pilot episode.
Sir Colin Callender of Playground, the production company behind the remake, said the BBC ‘had concerns about whether it would speak to a younger audience and, I think, whether or not the show could emerge from the shadow of the first series’.
Now the troubled Corporation, which is undergoing an overdue overhaul as questions of its alleged bias persist, is refusing to admit if it rejected All Creatures because the Yorkshire-based series is ‘too white’.
BBC bosses are refusing to reveal if they turned down Channel 5 hit All Creatures Great And Small because the series is ‘too white’ (pictured, Rachel Shenton as Helen Alderson and Nicholas Ralph as James Herriot in the 1970s series remake)
The beloved Yorkshire-based story of veterinary surgeon James Herriot has drawn in three million viewers and is the broadcaster’s best-rated original commission ever
Now the BBC, which passed on All Creatures amid fears it would not appeal to 16 to 34-year-olds, is refusing to admit if it rejected All Creatures because the series is ‘too white’. It follows claims made about Channel 5’s programming by boss Ben Frow (pictured)
Addressing claims that his programming including All Creatures is ‘white’, Channel 5 boss Ben Frow told the virtual Edinburgh TV Festival last month that the need for inclusivity is ‘something that is always in the back of our minds’.
He added: ‘Sometimes when I’m talking to producers, they say that (Yorkshire) is very white. I say you’ve got to make the extra effort.’
A later episode of the current All Creatures series will feature a new storyline centring on the experience of a black character.
The BBC has declined to comment.
Sir Colin said the series remake ‘has struck a chord’ and ‘lives comfortably and respectfully alongside the original series’.
Speaking to The Daily Telegraph, Channel 5 boss Mr Frow said All Creatures had chimed well with lockdown.
He added: ‘Who would have thought that when we launched All Creatures Great and Small it would be after six months of lockdown where people are suddenly fleeing the city to find more space in the country, and old-fashioned values are being looked at with nostalgia?’
It comes as the Corporation faces a crisis of identity following widespread charges of bias by the public and a growing number of politicians.
Director-General Tim Davie has vowed to tackle the problem of ‘Left-wing bias’ in its programming and among the more outspoken news staff.
He is being assisted by the Government, which reportedly sees former Daily Telegraph editor Lord Moore as its preferred candidate for BBC Chairman.
Sir Colin Callender of Playground, the production company behind the remake, said the BBC ‘had concerns about whether it would speak to a younger audience and, I think, whether or not the show could emerge from the shadow of the first series’
Lord Moore, 63, is a vocal critic of what he calls the Corporation’s ‘Left-wing woke values’ and objects to its £4billion-a-year income from the licence fee.
In 2010, he was fined £262 for not possessing a licence, having donated the equivalent sum to charity in protest at the BBC’s refusal to sack Jonathan Ross for making prank calls with comic Russell Brand to the actor Andrew Sachs.
Lord Moore has since accepted an approach to replace Sir David Clementi when he steps down in February and has discussed contractual terms.
However, civil servants at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport have complained to No 10 that the position has to be formally advertised in order to follow ‘due process’.
Allies of Mr Johnson complain that Civil Service selection protocols introduced by Jeremy Heywood when he was Cabinet Secretary forced candidates to jump through ‘hoops’ designed to ensure the selection of ‘members of the same Left-wing cabal’.