Can the Right not Write?

The head of the National Theatre wants a “good, mischievous right wing play” but why are right-wing political attitudes so absent from the creative media? Does it skew social, cultural and political attitudes in British society? The right does nominally dominate the print media but with large sections of society ignoring the mainstream news media do they adopt their narratives from the television and film they watch?

The BBC as a public broadcaster should offer some protection but it has been repeatedly attacked for a left-wing bias including by former employees.

In Northern Ireland Unionism and Nationalism are usually associated with the right and left (despite the commonality of social conservatism across society and diversity of economic outlook). Does this provide an explanation for Unionism’s problems with the BBC?

Gary Mitchell’s problems (before the vicious campaign of loyalist paramilitary intimidation against his extended family) could be a salutary lesson. His plays were turned away by Belfast theatres. BBC NI rejected his work and probably gave his recent victimisation more coverage than they did to his plays. Republicans told Irish America he was “a sectarian bigot who would not allow Catholics to perform, direct or produce any of his work”.

This week too Dublin-based Newstalk 106 defended itself against claims of anti-Unionist bias.

Can the right break the left-wing media consensus? Can Unionism utilise new media to challenge the BBC? Can something be learned from the American Right?

  • “the vicious campaign of loyalist paramilitary intimidation against his extended family”? was that not just another family feud he used to get a lot of publicity for his forthcoming work to be screened on C4?

  • P Ring

    Mitchell’s plays were produced in N.I. by the Lyric theatre, Tinderbox theatre company, by the Playhouse in Derry, by Replay theatre company and probably by other people I can’t remember. Thing is once you’ve seen a dozen plays about the UDA then you tend to feel you’ve maybe had enough.

    And what’s this?

    ‘Republicans told Irish America he was “a sectarian ##### who would not allow Catholics to perform, direct or produce any of his work”.

    Who? The Republican Sinn Fein branch of Equity?
    I presume this is a direct Mitchell quote and is as barmy and self-aggrandising as it gets.

  • Rory

    “…a good, mischievous right wing play”? Perhaps it’s time for me to dust down and revise my three-act drama-comedy “The Good Old Days” which, in successive acts, yearns in turn for the repeal of the abolition of slavery, the reintroduction of imprisonment for homosexuals and a return to adult male suffrage based on property ownership.

    I am confident that among the front row celebs on opening night one would spot such notables as Lord Archer, Jonathan Aitken, Frederick Forsythe, Melanie Philips, Phil Collins, Bryan Ferry and family and perhaps Ming Campbell (for the second act anyway). And one would not be surprised to find a fair smattering of eminents from the Ulster Assembly among that happy throng, I’ll be bound.

    But will it be popular with the masses or indeed the theatre going chattering class? Only time will tell.