10:38 15 March 2011
The producer of ITV1's Midsomer Murders has been suspended after saying it "wouldn't work" if there was racial diversity in the drama.
Brian True-May told the Radio Times that the show was a "last bastion of Englishness" and should stay that way.
Production company All3Media told the BBC that True-May, who co-created the long-running series, had been suspended pending an internal investigation.
ITV has said it was "shocked and appalled" by the producer's comments.
True-May spoke the the magazine, saying:
"We just don't have ethnic minorities involved. Because it wouldn't be the English village with them. It just wouldn't work.
"I'm trying to make something that appeals to a certain audience, which seems to succeed. And I don't want to change it."
Jason Hughes, who played DS Jones on the programme, said he had pondered why Midsomer continued to have no ethnic minorities:
"I wondered that myself and I don't know.
"This isn't an urban drama and it isn't about multiculturalism. That's not to say that there isn't a place for multiculturalism in the show. But that's really not up to me to decide.
"I don't think that we would all suddenly go, 'a black gardener in Midsomer? You can't have that'. I think we'd all go, 'great, fantastic'."
Midsomer Murders is based on the books written by Caroline Graham and since its launch in 1997, has featured 251 deaths, 222 of which were murders.
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