Tuesday, February 24, 2009

EASTENDERS To Air Episode With All-Black Cast

For the first time in the soap's 23-year history an episode of EASTENDERS featuring an all-black cast is to be broadcast. The program, which centres around character Patrick Trueman (Rudolph Walker), focuses on his views about how attitudes to race have changed in Britain since he arrived from Trinidad in the Fifties.

In the episode, which airs on Tuesday at 7.30pm on BBC1, Patrick talks to younger character Chelsea Fox (Tiana Benjamin) about racism after she discovers he was arrested in the 1958 Notting Hill race riots. Most of the 30-minute program is set in the Truman family home.

He goes on to discuss what it was like living as a black man in 1950s Britain and the racism he had to contend with. When it is decided that the UK is a less racist place to live, Chelsea questions this, saying it still exists but in a less obvious guise.

It's not clear whether the appearance of only black characters in the episode is deliberate. The BBC has not publicized the fact no white cast members will appear, and a synopsis of the episode on the official website does not mention the issue of race. It simply states: "A nostalgic Patrick reminisces about 1950s London."

February is Black History Month.

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