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Black stars critical of Crouches excluded from second series

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Cast members who openly criticised the BBC’s first black sitcom The Crouches have not been asked back for the second series, a source close to the cast has disclosed.

Among them is Danny John-Jules, who played Ed Ross in the show. He was one of the high-profile stars who attacked the Corporation for not employing any black writers on the series. This week, his agent confirmed that she had not been asked if John-Jules would like to star in series two.

The source continued: “While some actors have been approached through their agents and asked if they would like to return, others have heard nothing. It is no coincidence that these are the people who were prepared to express an opinion but that’s what you get if you do.

“One cast member first heard about the second series when the story editor of The Crouches phoned him up and said he might get some calls from journalists who will want to talk to him. It was then he found out that he wasn’t being asked back.”

The Stage exclusively revealed in September that some of the actors in the all-black sitcom were furious with the BBC after Corporation executives tried to counter criticism that the script was patronising by claiming the cast had contributed to it. It was actually written by Rab C Nesbitt creator Ian Pattison. Commentators claimed it played on racial stereotypes.

At the time, cast member John-Jules said: “Is the BBC saying that in 20 years it has never had a good enough script from all those black guys to make a black show?”

There are fears the situation is only likely to anger further many black actors who feel they are being forced to hold back their opinions in order to secure future employment with the BBC.

But the BBC claims it has taken heed of the criticisms and confirmed there will be more black members on the writing and production teams. Jamaican-born writer Liselle Kayla, who has written for EastEnders and sitcom Us Girls, is thought to be joining Pattison in penning the programme.

Equity committee member Albert Moses welcomed the introduction of Kayla and said: “Bringing in an ethnic writer is a move in the right direction. We African, Caribbean, oriental and Asian artists have always said that ethnic writers can make a great contribution by bringing in the right type of story lines and the right type of characterisation.”

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