Tamsin Greig blasts ‘whitewashing' of classic TV shows

Tamsin Greig has blasted TV for 'whitewashing history' credit:Bang Showbiz
Tamsin Greig has blasted TV for 'whitewashing history' credit:Bang Showbiz

Tamsin Greig has blasted TV bosses for “whitewashing history”.

The 57-year-old actress starred in the Channel 4 sitcom ‘Friday Night Dinner’, in which she, Paul Ritter, Simon Bird and Tom Rosenthal play a Jewish family living in suburbia, despite the fact none of the actors not following the faith.

Reflecting on the programme, Tamsin admitted she believed ‘Friday Night Dinner’ could not be made as it was today, due to the “problematic whitewashing”.

Speaking to the ‘Radio Times’ podcast, she said: “I was very nervous when I was cast in' Friday Night Dinner’.”

I went to Robert Popper, who wrote it, and is a Jewish man, and said, ‘I have Jewish ancestors but I don’t call myself Jewish.’

“He said, ‘I’m not worried’ - that was in 2009.

“If he was making that show now, of course, we would have very different conversations.

“I think it’s about being alive to the conversations that are happening now, and to always be asking ourselves, ‘Is this right for now?’

“I think whitewashing history is problematic. Because it’s not being honest about who we’ve been.”

Tamsin emphasised that casting attitudes need to be "discerning" when it comes to choosing actors for certain kinds of TV and movies.

She said: “It’s about being very discerning about each person that is being depicted and having a conversation, not only about who is best to play the role but who is best at this time.”

The actress concluded that entertainment needed to be more transparent with audiences regarding their portrayal of certain characters and groups.

She explained: “There is a sense of us not being able to grow up into new perspectives. I’m not allowing myself to say, ‘That did happen. What am I going to do about it?’

“It’s the process of growing up into that level of self-understanding and forgiveness and transformation. It is delicate and complicated and needs more air than we often allow it.”