Soaps rapped over racial stereotyping

EastEnders and Coronation Street have come under fire in a new report which accuses them of stereotyping ethnic minorities.

The publication, on minorities on the small screen, also criticised other soaps including Hollyoaks, Home and Away and Emmerdale for having virtually no characters from ethnic minorities.

And it said that viewers had cited characters in other soaps, such as Coronation Street’s Dev and black single mother Denise, as examples of stereotyping and tokenism.

Other shows including Who Wants To Be A Millionaire and The Vicar Of Dibley were also criticised in the publication on minorities on the small screen.

However, the report gave the thumbs up to shows such as The Apprentice and Who Do You Think You Are, while it also praised talent shows including The X Factor and Strictly Come Dancing, and current affairs shows such as Panorama.

And it also highlighted older shows including Channel 4’s comedy Desmond’s – which had a largely West Indian cast – suggesting that broadcasters may have produced more ethnic programmes in the past.

US shows Lost, Heroes, The Simpsons and ER were also praised for their representations of minorities.

The report was commissioned by Channel 4 following the controversy over the allegedly racist abuse of Bollywood star Shilpa Shetty on Celebrity Big Brother in 2007.