The TV boss behind popular British detective show Midsomer Murders has been suspended over comments he made in a candid interview suggesting the programme "just wouldn't work" without an all-white cast.
The show's executive producer, Brian True-May, has hit headlines in his native Britain for claiming multicultural characters would "look out of place" in the longrunning series, which is set in a quaint English village.
He told Radio Times, "We are a cosmopolitan society in this country, but if you watch Midsomer you wouldn't think so. I've never been picked up on that, but quite honestly I wouldn't want to change it... Maybe I'm not politically correct.... We just don't have ethnic minorities involved. Because it wouldn't be the English village with them. It wouldn't work.... They (fans) love the perceived English genteel eccentricity. It's not British, it's very English. We're the last bastion of Englishness and I want to keep it that way."
But his comments have angered bosses at Itv, the network behind the show, and he has now been suspended while an investigation is launched.
An Itv spokesman says, "We are shocked and appalled at these personal comments by Brian True-May which are absolutely not shared by anyone at Itv.
"We are in urgent discussions with All3Media, the producer, who have informed us that they have launched an immediate investigation into the matter and have suspended Mr True-May pending the outcome."
The show formerly starred John Nettles, who quit last year (10) after 13 seasons. He has been replaced by Neil Dudgeon.
Five years after his first stint as hitman Arthur Bishop in The Mechanic, Jason Statham has returned to the role for Mechanic: Resurrection.