Monday, March 16, 2009

Radio 4 rejects Churchill's Gaza play

According to a report by Ben Dowell in The Guardian, BBC Radio 4 has rejected an unsolicited manuscript of Caryl Churchill's recent play Seven Jewish Children over fears that it would compromise the corporation's impartiality.
BBC sources suggest that a significant factor in the decision was awareness of the controversy stirred by Seven Jewish Children during its theatre run and the fact that the BBC has only recently survived the onslaught of criticism for its refusal to broadcast the Gaza appeal. In an email seen by the Guardian, Radio 4's drama commissioning editor Jeremy Howe said that he and Radio 4 controller Mark Damazer thought Churchill's play was a "brilliant piece".

But Howe wrote: "It is a no, I am afraid. Both Mark [Damazer, Radio 4 controller] and I think it is a brilliant piece, but after discussing it with editorial policy we have decided we cannot run with it on the grounds of impartiality – I think it would be nearly impossible to run a drama that counters Caryl Churchill's view. Having debated long and hard we have decided we can't do Seven Jewish Children."
Update (17.03.09): The Guild has issued a press release expressing concern over the BBC's decision.


  1. Anonymous9:09 pm

    According to the Guardian "the play consists of seven short scenes in which Israeli adults discuss how they will explain to children.... seven key moments in Israeli and Jewish history....includes the Holocaust, the first Intifada and the present-day bombing of Gaza."

    That sounds reasonable to me. I don't understand the problem - and I have thought about it. Israel/Palestine is becoming taboo. The Arts is one way to enlighten, encourage different perspectives and free up mindsets. If Apartheid still existed in South Africa today,under these guidelines would the BBC be able to broadcast a drama about a black African?

  2. As mentioned on this blog before, you can download a copy of the play (pdf)from the Royal Court website.


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