‘Who is Sir Curtis Seretse?’: A Re evaluation of Black Representation in Sixties British Television
This paper re-evaluates the significance of Sir Curtis Seretse, a black character from the 1960s television series Department S (ITV 1969-70) which has largely been ignored. While earlier critical and academic discourse of Department S has primarily centred on the flamboyant Jason King, the importance of Seretse’s character has been overlooked. Seretse, as the head of Department S, is in a position of authority and power over the other (white) characters of the show. Furthermore, he represents a highly educated character that converses on equal terms with Prime Ministers and Presidents, a unique representation of a black character on British television at that time. Seretse’s appearance on prime time television, at a period when black performers in the media were invariably confined to little more than token characters, is therefore worthy of further attention. This paper examines how Seretse represents a different type of black character not previously seen on British television, when compared to the representations of racial problems on other television crime dramas.