Colourblind casting: The buzz around new BBC historical series | RTL News

Kleurenblind casten: ophef over nieuwe historische BBC-serie

The eight-part series, The King and the Conqueror, covers, among other things, the Battle of Hastings, a battle fought in October 1066 between the Normans and the Anglo-Saxons. The BBC is using a “colour-blind” approach to the series. In other words, the skin colour of the actors plays no role.

BBC crew, including Jason Forbes and Elander Moore – these actors are pictured at the top of this article.


But that’s exactly what caused the uproar. The series would be “too woke,” and above all: historically incorrect. British historians began writing to point out that there were very few Anglo-Saxons of color at this time in history.

For example, one historian tells the right-wing Daily Mail that it is “simply misleading”: “It is absolutely madness to look at colour blindly at a time when Britain was the least multicultural of all.”

Another historian says: “Since the series will undoubtedly be unrealistic, we will have to content ourselves with the bizarre idea that there were black nobles in Anglo-Saxon England.”

The BBC itself has yet to respond to the uproar. For reporter Anne Sainen, the broadcaster’s choice to cast “colour blind” came as no surprise. “The BBC has always been a pioneer in diversity. Not just in terms of skin colour, but also, for example, by giving people with disabilities a chance. Think of the film Silent Witness, where a woman in a wheelchair plays a detective.”


In this way, the BBC is breaking taboos, say supporters. “There are a lot of Britons who think that choosing colours for colour blindness is a good thing,” says Sainen. “They say: ‘It’s about how well you can act. You have to look through the colour of your skin.’”

They also point out that color-blind casting can work very well, as in the Netflix hit Bridgerton. “But that’s more like fiction,” says Sainen. “That’s really history.”

According to Sennen, the problem for many people is that the BBC makes it so obvious. “It’s gone to the point where it’s almost unreal. A lot of Britons are a bit fed up with it. If they did it more subtly, there would probably be a lot less fuss.”

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