According to former Hollyoaks star Ricky Whittle the UK is ahead of America when it comes to diversity on television.

Via The Guardian

The British actor Ricky Whittle has said he believes UK television is ahead of the US in terms of diversity.

Whittle – a former star of Hollyoaks and contestant on Strictly Come Dancing – who is starring in hit new US drama The 100 said he felt typecast by the roles he was being offered across the Atlantic.

Asked if he had been offered better roles since moving to Los Angeles, the 32-year-old Manchester-born actor said: “No, not at all. I’d say the UK definitely has more diversity.”

His comments come in the wake of claims that the reverse is true, with some British black actors saying they have found more opportunities in the US than at home.  Continue Reading

I cannot quite decide if Ricky actually believes this, or if he hopes that by peddling a lie he will finally get more acting work on British television.

The only example of diversity on British television that is miles ahead of our American cousins  is the depiction of interracial relationships, particularly between black men and Caucasian women. Watching British television, one would be led to believe that black British couples don’t actually exist in our society. Even Idris Elba who produced and starred in the hit drama ‘Luther’ never once cast a black actress as his love interest during the hit BBC show’s run.  

But anyway, other than that I don’t know what Ricky is talking about.

The situation is far from perfect on US television, there is still a long way to go, but they are in a better position than us.

I remember when Ricky first appeared on the popular Sky 1 football drama ‘Dream Team’. He was an attractive young man who clearly did not win the role based on acting ability (he could not act). Then year’s later he landed a permanent role in the teen soap Hollyoaks where I did note a slight improvement.

After leaving Hollyoaks Ricky announced he was relocating to Hollywood. I laughed because I just did not see it happening for him. But you could have knocked me down with a feather when he actually went on to win a role in the VH1 drama ‘Single Ladies’ and now stars in ‘The 100’.

If Ricky had stayed in England I doubt he would be in the position that he is in now. He would be another black unemployed actor waiting for the phone to ring. 

Categories: UK News

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9 replies »

  1. He’s kind of right. Here in the US, only Black Entertainment Television (BET) hires a lot of people of color,other than goofball “reality” shows like “Real Housewives of Atlanta,” which are totally degrading. If you see us on TV, we’re either playing a drug addict or somebody in some kind of need. I gave up on watching most television. The lucky ones know Oprah and Tyler Perry. Spike Lee has taken to Kickstarter to raise money for his next movie project.

    As far as interracial couples (15% of the population here) when Cheerios cereal featured an interracial couple on a commercial last year the hate mail and death threats were so bad they had to take the ad off the air. This is a country where Ted Nugent called President Obama a “subhuman mongrel” and never apologized.

  2. Its is true that US television has a long way to go, but you are in a better position then us in so many ways. Also Ricky is lucky that his limited acting ability has not stopped him from winning roles there.

    I remember reading about the Cheerios incident. But I did not realise it received that level of backlash and the commercial was eventually banned. Wow.

  3. I agree with you, i don’t completely get what he was saying either. From what i can see, American TV/Film is not perfect, i agree with him on that and also UK is more advanced in race integration outside of TV but not sure how he can say TV/Film are better in England?

    Seems like Ricky boy went to America unprepared, how did he think that he could go out there without mastering a couple of American accents? or not know that Americans may not get all London accents. Ricky had it good in England because he is mixed race and has the look that got him roles in some shows as a side characters.

    Problem with Actors like Ricky and Ashley Walters is that they have been so stereotyped in the roles they have taken or offered that they struggle to adapt or change when asked to outside the UK. Maybe they just need to admit to their limitations and work harder or come back to the UK.

  4. Ricky’s mixed race? I had to check before finishing this post and found an interview he did with 1xtra and he refers to himself as being black, born and raised in Northern Ireland… who knew?

    Ashley Walters has stated in the past that he has no interest in working in America. He says he wants to continue working here. To be fair he always seems to be working and can actually act.

  5. He is delusional!! At least he gets hired here.. Many that come from the UK will tell you…they made the best choice ever. The UK promotes interracial relationships… you surly don’t see much black love. My best advice to him is to go back to the UK and see how many jobs he will receive. Or better yet tell him to talk to Idris and others. Maybe he thought he would become a superstar by now…. Wish him well….

  6. @Janice

    Ooops, always presumed he was. Maybe because he was part of that family in Hollyoaks.

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July 2014
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