Kevin Myers: A speech so intoxicating it would cause Long Kesh veterans to cry 'God for Harry, England and St George!'
The quite marvellous BBC2 series on Shakespeare's royal plays -- with Jeremy Irons quite astounding as Henry IV -- ended on Sunday with a Tay Bridge disaster production of 'Henry V'. Political correctness hit the conjoined twins of kingship and patriotism head on. And it is no reflection on the acting skills of Paterson Joseph to say that it was absurd to cast a black man as Duke of York. For the Duke was grandson of the Plantagenet King Edward III, and on his mother's side, great grandson of Philip III of France. In other words, blanc de blanc.
This was just the latest example of British drama producers being 'colour-blind', though there is actually an agenda here, as identified by Paterson Joseph himself: "The problem with not seeing representations of black British life before 1948 is that it makes young black people feel like newcomers. Television and film have been whitewashed, but I think theatre is well ahead."
Well, there you have it. Theatre's apparent role is now to create a politically correct and racially adjusted history of England. In this, the black population of England did not arrive largely from the 1950s on, but apparently were always present yet invisible because they had been "whitewashed" out.