Kosher television takeover

November 24, 2016 22:01

The end of the year is upon us. The secular year that is. Now is a time to sit back with a glass of sherry, look into the fire and reflect upon the eternal question: "How was it for the Jews?"

We know that there has been a rise in antisemitic attacks and that university campuses are rife with hostility to all things Israeli and that some people confuse their virulent loathing of Israel with a seeming dislike of Jews in general. We know all that. It's the same every year.

But nonetheless, it has been a bumper 365 days for us British Red Sea Pedestrians. Across a wide demographic too. We started 2010 with The Infidel, a proper British feature film that had modern northwest London Jewish actors playing modern northwest London Jewish characters.

It was written by a Jew, directed by a Jew, was funny and was very popular both here and abroad. So that's the film world, AKA the Guardian readership, covered.

Then we had a whole anarchic television comedy series devoted to our Jewish goings on, in the guise of Grandma's House, shown on the BBC; and there's another one on Channel 4 in the new year, called Friday Night Dinner, so that's the 'yoof' market taken care of. Then Claudia Winkleman (a proper card-carrying birth Jew) gets two of the biggest presenting gigs on the telebox (Strictly Come Dancing and Film 2010) - i.e. most of middle England are now loving the kooky gorgeous shineyness of Ms Winkleman.

And if that's not good enough, Howard Jacobson only goes and wins the Man Booker with the Finkler Question (I cannot even go into how many points that earns us).

But hang on. There's more. This week, just in case we thought our fan base was potentially getting a little too highbrow, ITV's "seminal" I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Of Here had the great British public voting for its queen or king of the jungle.

After three weeks of seeing contestants debase themselves in kangaroo droppings and cockroaches, Joe Public voted with its heart and went kosher. Yes! The winner is Jewish . A funny, self-deprecating, singing sweetheart called Stacey Solomon. Chicken soups all round.

All of these things are to be celebrated. We have entered the cultural mainstream.

Jews are now so much part of the furniture that we can win these reality shows and no one even needs to say, "Meet Stacey, she's Jewish." We just sort of know that she's warm and full of life, not exactly a retiring English rose.

But the best bit of 2010 in my book is that popular TV culture may finally have given Israel a fighting chance in the PR battle for hearts and minds amongst the chattering classes.

Because what sort of pariah, oppressive, right-wing bully boy state would allow two women to become the world's first same sex couple to compete in a version of Strictly Come Dancing in this series of the country's popular TV show?

Well? Answer me that.

November 24, 2016 22:01

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