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October 15, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

The BBC casting-call ad for its TV series London Spy originally called for "an immensely talented non-Caucasian actor" to audition for "a pivotal role in this brilliant original drama series." Several black actors applied and reportedly had been in "serious talks" for the role. In the end, however, white actor Edward Holcroft was selected for the role. He won’t be smearing on dark makeup, however. The part was rewritten, changing the race of the character. The change triggered an angry response from Danny Lee Wynter, founder of Act for Change, which is pushing for greater racial diversity in British TV and film casting. In an interview with Britain’s Guardian newspaper, Wynter said, "To change the race of a character seems a cavalier decision to make, especially so very late in the casting process. It may seem like one small thing… but once again this highlights the subtle, repeated erosion of opportunities available for black British artists." However, Tom Rob Smith, who wrote the script for the series, said that it initially required a black character. "However, during the rewriting of the final episodes the plot changed and he became a white character."