Wednesday 22 January 2020

Homeland star David Harewood: I don’t need Enoch Powell’s speech analysed

The controversial anti-immigration speech was read out in full on British radio for the first time.

David Harewood (Ian West/PA)
David Harewood (Ian West/PA)

By Sherna Noah, Press Association Senior Entertainment Correspondent

Homeland star David Harewood has hit out at the BBC’s broadcast in full of the words from Enoch Powell’s “rivers of blood” speech.

The controversial anti-immigration speech was read out by actor Ian McDiarmid on Radio 4’s Archive On 4 programme on Saturday.

It was read out in full for the first time on British radio, but in chunks interspersed with discussion about the speech.

Harewood, who played a CIA boss in TV hit Homeland, tweeted: “Dear BBCRadio4. I don’t need that speech analysed.

“I know exactly what it meant because I felt it. On my way to school, on my way home, every time I went into town and basically whenever I went outside in the late 70s and 80s.

“I tried not to listen then, so I won’t listen now.”

The BBC has said the broadcast was a “rigorous journalistic analysis of a historical political speech” and “not an endorsement of the controversial views”.

‏Some listeners welcomed the broadcast.

@PaulEmbery wrote: “Archive on 4 about Enoch Powell, was insightful, sensitive, analytical and balanced.

“The idea, peddled by the usual self-appointed censors, that it would persuade hordes of Radio 4 listeners to become violent racists was always preposterous.”

And @JeremyDuns wrote: “Didn’t see anything wrong with Radio 4’s programme on Enoch Powell. Solid documentary, and the full speech made it clearer just how racist and wrong it was (also pompous). I’d have preferred to hear Powell than an actor.”

Labour peer Lord Andrew Adonis had asked watchdog Ofcom to intervene and instruct the BBC not to broadcast the speech, which he describes as “incendiary and racist”.

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