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'Enders defends 'all-black cast' story

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'Enders defends 'all-black cast' story

Rudolph Walker

EastEnders bosses this afternoon defended claims that they deliberately avoided promoting tonight's episode, which features an all-black cast for the first time in the show's history.

This evening's instalment of the Walford-based drama revolves around the Trueman and Fox families and the secret that mysterious newcomer Theo Kelly (Rolan Bell) is keeping from Patrick (Rudolph Walker).

During the episode, Theo meets with Chelsea (Tiana Benjamin) in the hope of learning more about Patrick. As they talk in the cafe, Theo's mobile phone rings and when he heads outside, Chelsea discovers a newspaper cutting with the headline 'Negro charged with assault', relating to Patrick's arrest on assault charges during the Notting Hill riots.

The script contains references to the 1958 riots as well as iconic American civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr, while the terms 'coloureds', 'negroes' and the racist slogan 'Keep Britain White' are also mentioned in the dialogue.

Despite claims to the contrary, programme-makers insisted that the storyline has received the same publicity treatment as the soap's other ongoing plots.

An insider this afternoon told DS: "Everyone at Elstree has been truly shocked and surprised by the attention that an episode with an all-black cast has had, given that we live in such a diverse and multicultural society."

A BBC spokesperson said: "Tonight's episode focuses on Patrick Trueman sharing his experiences of being a young man living in 1950s Britain with the family he lives with (the Foxes) which does mean it's solely an all-black cast on screen."

They added: "Patrick and the Foxes are an integral part of Albert Square and this is no different to other episodes where we've concentrated on one particular family or storyline in the past."

It was recently announced that acting legend Edward Woodward is to join the cast of the BBC soap as part of the ongoing storyline.

> Click here to read more about the episode
> Click here to read our interview with Rolan Bell
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