Attack on The Archers leads to debate over multiculturalism

Mar 27, 2012
Jonathan Harwood

Richard Bacon accused of 'pandering to smug metropolitan elite' - but Delingpole takes his side

RADIO FIVE DJ Richard Bacon has ripped open a can of worms after laying into that national institution, The Archers. He described Radio 4's pastoral soap opera as "humdrum" and middle-class, prompting an unexpected debate about multiculturalism in Britain.
Writing in the Radio Times, Bacon (above) said he could not understand why people would want to listen to "fictional rural people chat aimlessly about their menial chores and the small business decisions they might take".
He also employed the classic rhetorical trick, beloved of sixth-formers, of branding anyone who disagreed with him a conceited liar. "I honestly believe there are two types of people in the world," he declared. "Those who find The Archers boring... and those who find it boring but pretend to enjoy it as they think it makes them look superior."
Unsurprisingly his views did not go down well in some quarters. And it was not long before the debate had spiralled into a furious argument over political correctness and the fragmentation of British society, mainly played out in the pages of The Daily Telegraph.
In an editorial, the paper dismissed Bacon's view of the Radio 4 show as the "self-indulgent maunderings of a smug metropolitan elite".
However, the columnist James Delingpole then took the debate in a surprising direction by admitting that he agreed with Bacon, but not for the reasons he had put forward.
"The Archers isn't hateful because it's about farming and nothing ever happens. It's hateful because it's not about farming and far too much does happen," Delingpole declared, before launching into a vitriolic attack on the BBC for making the series too PC.
Trampling into the political minefield last visited during the row over the all-white cast of the TV series Midsomer Murders, which has now introduced ethnic characters, Delingpole bemoaned the lack of white middle-class characters for the show's ills.
He quoted approvingly from a blog called England Calling, which criticised the presence in The Archers of a female vicar, gay pub landlord and too many ethnic characters - and described it as a "multicultural fantasy".
(Incidentally, the same blog has previously advertised its far-right credentials by describing the conviction of the Stephen Lawrence murderers as "a savage and sinister travesty of justice" and claiming that a racist Croydon tram ranter was reacting to the "claustrophobia of diversity".)
Bacon predicted a backlash from Archers fans - but did he expect to cause a row about multiculturalism in rural England? He should keep an eye on the letters page of The Daily Telegraph, where it's likely to unfold in the days to come.

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I do get fed up with this continual attacks on the white middle class element of our society. Mostly I have to presume from 'Liberal', 'Lefty, Self proclaiming 'Intellectuals'! Usually those who stick their greedy mitts into the public coffers to pay their wages.I would include the BBC as being in the vanguard of this element! As an observer of human behaviour, I have all too often noticed that it is the incompetents of society who are the most confident! This of course being because they lack the competence to recognise their lack competence. Why this propensity to denigrate the white middle classes when it is the competency and industry of this very class that that creates the wealth that supports the rest! Let no-one forget that 10% of the population contributes 50% of tax revenue!

Who is Richard Bacon? Never heard of him.
I'm sure he has an opinion.
Pity he is not listened to by as many people who listen to the Archers.
Must be trying to raise his profile.

The Archers, along with Eastenders is how the BBC elite preach their values to the masses and reorder society in their own image. Its a form of low intensity brain washing. ( And allows them to get around the balance requirement that interferes with their march through the institutions. )

I enjoy most programmes on radio 4, but I I have to turn off when the archers theme tune comes on! I agree with Richard bacon.

Ask me to name at least 20 characters on The Archers and I will.

Ask me to name one DJ on Radio Five and you'll have stumped me.