I’m not sure it is fair to describe 1970s TV sitcom It Ain’t Half Hot Mum as using “blackface” (your report, 7 February). As a European actor playing an ethnic Indian, Michael Bates wore appropriate make-up to look the part, as actors do.
Now it could be argued, and indeed the question was raised in the 1970s, that the part of the wily Rangi Ram should have been played by an ethnic Indian actor, rather than an Englishman, albeit one born in India. However, Bates’ use of make-up for authenticity’s sake was surely a far cry from the grotesque caricatures which appeared in The Black and White Minstrels Show and surely should not be equated with them.
Jane Ann Liston