British politician and Manchester Member of Parliament John Leech has released a statement asking Channel Four to rethink their commission for the controversial comedy series making light of Ireland’s Great Hunger.
The Liberal Democrat is a spokesperson for Culture, Media and Sport, and has officially passed a motion in Parliament about the matter, the Manchester Gazette reported.
“Of course we live in a tolerant, diverse society and it is up to Channel Four to decide what they produce,” Leech said.
“What worries me about this ‘comedy’ is that it is likely to poke fun, make light and reinforce stereotypes about the Irish and a famine which killed a million people.
“I remember the early series of Channel Four’s Shameless which deliberately mocked, exaggerated and stereotyped Mancunians. My fear is, if Channel Four doesn’t think again, the same will happen here,” he said.
Channel Four commissioned Dublin screenwriter Hugh Travers to write the script of “Hungry,” a comedy about the period in which one million Irish died and one million emigrated. “Comedy equals tragedy plus time,” Travers told the Irish Times.
The idea for the comedy has sparked heavy debate and controversy. Petitions have been signed and London protests have been held at the Channel Four headquarters, though they have thus far defended the series.
“It’s not unusual for sitcoms to exist against backdrops that are full of adversity and hardship,” a Channel Four spokesperson said.