The BBC is facing a racism row over a children’s show that ‘perpetuates every racial stereotype’ about the Chinese.
The CBBC sitcom, Living With The Lams, centres on a Chinese family running a restaurant in Manchester. The father performs in a band called ‘Wok and Roll’.
Yesterday the BBC was criticised for giving the go-ahead to a show with ‘regressively radicalised’ stereotypes.
The new CBBC sitcom, Living With The Lams, centres on a Chinese family running a restaurant in Manchester and has been accused of perpetuating ‘every racial stereotype’
The BBC has been criticised for giving the children’s show the go-ahead due to its ‘regressively radicalised’ stereotypes
It was also lambasted for its ‘colonial mindset’ after it suggested that the show’s non-Chinese writers could try to avoid cultural insensitivity by ‘buddying up’ with lower-paid, uncredited Chinese ones.
Critics claimed that proposals for the show refer to characters from East Asia as ‘oriental’ – now considered to be an outdated term – and wrongly show steamed dumplings being pulled out of an oven.
The programme is also said to poke fun at the grandmother for spitting on the floor, use a ‘mish-mash’ of Chinese accents, and even feature an episode about the ‘stinkiness’ of Chinese food.
More than 50 British East Asian directors, writers and actors have written an open letter to CBBC boss Cheryl Taylor calling for the show to be axed. They say it is ‘regressive, and perpetuating rather than challenging racial stereotypes’.
The show has no place on the BBC unless it is exclusively written by British East Asian writers, they added.
Only two of the eight episodes are due to be written by British East Asians, the letter said. The programme-makers have brought in a ‘cultural consultant’ to help its white writers understand Chinese culture.
More than 50 British East Asian directors, writers and actors wrote a open letter to CBBC boss Cheryl Taylor and called for the new show to be axed
They are alleged to have said British East Asian writers could ‘buddy up’ and be ‘mentored’ by the white writers – as long as they were prepared to accept lower fees and do not seek a writers’ credit on the programme.
Miss Taylor was unavailable for comment. But a BBC spokesman said: ‘We’re really proud of our track record in making diverse and culturally relevant output for our young audience.
‘We always seek guidance, advice and expert input for culturally sensitive content.
‘We’re still in the development stages of Living With The Lams and so the editorial process is ongoing.’
A spokesman for production company Twenty Twenty said the critics’ letter did not ‘accurately reflect key parts of the ongoing development process’.