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Culture House Daily

Remember what really bad, racist TV looked like? I give you London Live

1 April 2014

7:27 PM

1 April 2014

7:27 PM

So Lebedev’s London Live has launched. And I don’t know about you but I’m hooked. I’d totally forgotten what really bad TV looked like. It’s as if the chief execs at Channel 5 got together with Alan Partridge for a 21st-century rebrand. London’s new TV channel did get one nice review from the, oh, Lebedev-owned Independent – moving swiftly on.

From what I’ve seen of London Live’s first full day, it’s as if a posh, ethnically very chic primary school won a Blue Peter competition where they got to dress up as adults for the day and run their very own TV channel – all by themselves! The top news story was the announcement that Emma Watson’s dress was white and pretty. We were then treated to two Twitter images of yesterday’s ‘sandstorm’. And that was it. Lucky, lucky, London. It made Newsround feel like Dispatches.

[Alt-Text]


Say what you like about the content, however, the channel definitely felt modern. (If you ignore all the repeats.) There were lots of black and brown faces, which felt extremely modern. There was lots of chit-chat about ‘street food’. Also modern. And a presenter with a beard and tattoos. Very modern.

But then came a rerun of the first ever episode of the fire-brigade drama serial, London’s Burning, broadcast on ITV in 1986. I wonder if anyone actually watched it. Because you know what 1986 was like? Not very modern. By which I mean extremely racist. So day one of London’s hip new modern TV channel offered up a bit of this:

“I though your wife was very attractive, Tone?” says one character to the only black character in the programme. “That’s because she’s white, isn’t it, Tone?” chips in another.

Riiiiight. So don’t think we can give London Live full marks yet for diversity . (Hope someone at London Live gets round to watching the rest of London’s Burning before we do.)

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