Australian born Barry Humphries, who is best known as Dame Edna Everage, has recently claimed that racism aided in increasing the viewership of hit BBC1 series ‘Downton Abbey’ within the US.
The 81-year-old implied that the drama’s huge popularity in America was connected to the absence of black characters in its period English setting. He stated “Why do you think ‘Downton Abbey’ is so popular in the States? Because there are no black people in it” despite the fact that black people have featured in the show. The character of Jack Ross, a charismatic black jazz bandleader, played by Gary Carr, was introduced in series four.
Humphries’ remarks also go against the fact that Empire was the fifth most viewed show in America last year with more than 17 million viewers, and it has an almost entirely non-white cast. 26 million people in the US watch ‘Downton Abbey’, which began its 6th and final series on The 3rd of January, in America.
His remarks regarding the show are the latest in a string of controversial comments, which have peppered his career. In the interview with Radio Times Humphries’ outdated and spent opinions were highlighted throughout as he also stated “Imagine if the BBC tried to do ‘Till Death Do Us Part’ again today, with Alf Garnett ranting against black people? It couldn’t be done. There is a new puritanism that we are experiencing, a nervousness”.
Following the departure of ‘Downton Abbey’ from our screens, fans of the show will be happy to here that new lavishly adapted period drama ‘War and Peace’ began on the 3rd of January, which derives from Leo Tolstoy’s epic novel.
The action is set mainly in Lithuania whilst parts of the drama have been filmed in Latvia and in the ancient Russian city of Novgorod. The narrative follows the lives of a range of characters in the era surrounding the 1812 French invasion of Russia, during the Napoleonic wars.