Clowning around at Elstree

As you’ll already know if you follow me on Twitter, I went to Elstree today in order to deliver the open letter, signed by 280 people, asking the BBC to engage with us over the hurt caused to a number of viewers, queer and straight alike, by Holby City episodes in December. I’d emailed producers there to ask if they would meet me to talk about the issue.

In 2017, when I contacted Holby to speak to them about my research into the (then positive) impacts of the storyline for women-loving women, I was invited down, given a tour of the studios, and had a really long chat with the then Series Producer, Kate Hall (who has since left the BBC).

This time, I got no response whatsoever. Yet when I arrived at the gates of Elstree, the security guard appeared to be expecting me. Here’s a video of our conversation, with transcription, as there’s a lot of background noise. I’ve tried to block out the man’s image, because although he knew I was recording, he’s only doing his job, and there’s nothing to be gained in making him visible.

Me: “Hi, can we just deliver these [showing envelopes] please?”

SG: “You can’t, no. What’s your name?”

Me: “Georgina”

SG: “Yeah, Georgina, we can’t. Because we understand that you’ve been advised of correct procedures for the BBC. So we will not be able to take them.”

I explained that they were not complaints, but he insisted that they could not be accepted. I’ll post them on via Special Delivery.

It wasn’t a completely wasted trip, because I met a #BerenaDeservedBetter silent clown protest when I arrived! And because if nothing else, this is yet more confirmation that the BBC would prefer not to engage at all on this subject. It is so important, though, that they do. What we want is representation that doesn’t succumb to trope and stereotype, and when programme makers tell us that they care about that, we need to be able to believe in them.

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