The BBC has been criticised for failing to feature any BAME choristers in its annual broadcast of Carols From King’s.
The performance, which takes place from Cambridge University’s King’s College, this year featured 13 young musicians from the King’s Singers instead of the college’s own choir.
The King’s College Cambridge’s adult choristers had been due to perform until two days before the concert, when they were forced into self-isolation because two members tested positive for coronavirus.
However, viewers of the BBC2 broadcast complained about the lack of diversity amongst the choristers.
— Sue Hillyard (@suehillyard) December 24, 2020
— Anousha (@anoushasakoui) December 27, 2020
Twitter user Sue Hillyard said: “Great to see such Christmas Eve diversity #carolsfromkings.”
LA Times journalist Anousha Sakoui said: “Glad im not the only one who felt that way. we ended up switching it off.
While another Twitter user said: “Why didn’t the #BBC feature an additional Christmas programme involving carols etc from a gospel choir? We’d have loved to have seen this.”
A spokesman for King’s later told the Mail On Sunday that the “diversity of the College was not expressed” because of the late changes.
“King's College is a diverse community whose commitment to equality of access and wider participation is reflected in every aspect of College life,” they said.
“Sadly, the diversity of the College was not expressed in the televised service because a number of participants were required to self-isolate just before filming commenced following positive tests for COVID-19.”
This year’s performance saw the choristers perform to an empty congregation and maintain social distancing throughout because of the coronavirus scare.
Prior to the show, the college’s dean, the Rev Dr Stephen Cherry, thanked the King’s Singers for standing in.
“We are all hugely grateful to the King’s Singers for stepping up at the last minute,” he said.
“They have shown tremendous goodwill and consummate professionalism.
“Our young choristers also responded very positively and with real maturity to the several challenges faced in re-imagining the programme, and together they have enabled us to offer a wonderful Christmas service at extraordinarily short notice.”
Yahoo News UK has contacted the BBC and King’s College, Cambridge, for comment.