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Monday, 28 October, 2002, 18:59 GMT
Babyfather author furious with BBC
Babyfather
Babyfather won a Royal Television Society award
Author Patrick Augustus has fallen out with the BBC over the adaptation of his novel Babyfather, calling the characters "racist stereotypes".

A second series of Babyfather, which told the story of a group of black men dealing with fatherhood, begins on BBC Two on Wednesday 30 October following a successful first run of four episodes last year.


I am left to think that they are just following a negative agenda in relation to black people

Patrick Augustus
But Augustus believes he was pushed out of the development stage so the nature of the series could be changed to bring in racial stereotypes such as drug taking.

He said he is so furious he would prefer to have his name completely removed from the end credits of the second series, although the BBC denies he ever asked to have his name omitted.

"I deliberately did not put any domestic violence or drug references in the book because, although some sections of the media perpetrate black people doing cocaine and crack, I do not know anyone who has taken drugs," he told BBC News Online.

'Tokenism'

He is also angry the BBC hailed Babyfather as a new direction for black drama, saying it has failed to produce anything since then that would interest black viewers.

The broadcaster's attitude to racial diversity was merely "tokenism", he said.

"We are contributing as much as anyone to the licence fee and getting nothing. We have to turn to satellite channels to get American shows which provide a better balance," he said.

Augustus had no involvement with the scripting of either series and said the only way he has been able to highlight the treatment his book has been getting is by complaining through the press.

Having sold the rights to Babyfather, he said he would be wary of working with the BBC again if he did not have control over a project.


Some of the scenes he refers to support his claims do not even feature in the series

Hilary Salmon, executive producer
The producer of the programme has defended the adaptation and said the writer's assertion of racial stereotyping was unfounded, saying there has been immense positive feedback.

The BBC has said that while the first series was based on the original book it had always made clear that a second series would see the same characters in new storylines.

'Unfounded complaints'

"I can't imagine them treating other authors like this or introducing a bit of cocaine into Harry Potter just to spice it up a bit," Augustus told the New Nation newspaper.

"I am left to think that they are just following a negative agenda in relation to black people."

But the executive producer of the series denied there was any such agenda.

"Augustus's claims that there is racial stereotyping in Babyfather are unfounded," said Hilary Salmon.

"Some of the scenes he refers to support his claims do not even feature in the series. There is no domestic violence and only one scene where drugs are mentioned, but none of the characters take it or deal in it."

Ms Salmon added that three well-respected black writers had been brought in to script the show, and that it had won numerous awards, including two from the Commission for Racial Equality.

"The amount of positive feedback that was logged on the Babyfather website was one of the reasons it has been brought back for a second series," she added.

See also:

10 Oct 01 | Entertainment
30 May 02 | Entertainment
09 Sep 02 | Entertainment
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