World

Stacey Dooley ‘would do the same’ after Comic Relief row

The documentary maker and Strictly Come Dancing winner Stacey Dooley has said she would not do anything differently after the “white saviour” storm that followed her Comic Relief trip to Uganda.

Dooley spent time in a village in Uganda making a film for the charity. After she shared a picture posing with a young boy she was accused by the Labour MP David Lammy of perpetuating “tired and unhelpful stereotypes” about Africa.

“The world does not need any more white saviours,” he said.

The row opened up a wider debate about the best ways of raising awareness about poverty and global injustice.

Dooley has made more than 70 documentaries for BBC3, tackling subjects such as mass rape and murder, paedophiles, child soldiers and the crystal meth industry in Mexico. She also won Strictly.

Speaking at Hay festival, Dooley said she would have liked Lammy to have spoken to her directly, and that she still had not had a conversation with him.

“I wonder, and I’m speculating because he hasn’t come to me, I wonder if he thought I had just done Strictly and thought: ‘Right, I’m going to go and help all these countries in Africa now,’ show that I’m this holier-than-thou do-gooder.”

She said she had been posting her encounters with children on Instagram while making documentaries for 10 years and met the Ugandan boy through his granddad.

The idea that she would walk up to a child with no existing relationship for a picture was “farcical … I know how to conduct myself. I know how to behave.”

She added: “Ultimately, the only people I care about are the people on the ground. I was texting them yesterday. They’re very happy with how we behaved. We had consent from the family to use the picture. On my part I feel OK with what we did.”

She would do the same again. “The little boy was a sweetheart. We spent time with his granddad. We were there for two and a half days in that village. We asked if we could have a picture. We asked if we could use the picture. I feel content with my behaviour.”

Because she had no direct contact with Lammy the row quickly became “hysterical” and “divisive” she said.

“I never really had a conversation with David Lammy. He never picked up the phone. He never came to me and said: ‘Can I have 20 minutes of your time? I’d love to tell you what my concerns are.’ I’m a reasonable, rational woman. I would have sat down and listened to what he had to say.”

Dooley was working multiple jobs, including shifts at Luton airport, when she was offered a series by BBC3 aged 19.

She is proud of the work. “Raising awareness and bringing it to an audience that doesn’t watch Dispatches, or listen to Radio 4 or read certain papers … there is an appetite there for it. There is a demographic that we reach that others don’t.”

Show More

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button