disability

BBC’s Defying the Label season won’t change prejudice overnight says Adam Pearson

The programme is part of BBC Three’s Defying the Label season, which aims to explore disability, poverty, hate crime, sex and romance in 15 specialist programmes over four weeks.

Yet Pearson, a former BBC and Channel 4 researcher who also starred in Channel 4’s Beauty and the Beast, argues that the BBC season is a ‘double-edged sword’. While there’s been progress in discussing disability on primetime TV, Pearson hopes to get to a stage where disabled people can appear on screen without “the need for a special season or with such a big song and dance”.

Diversity: job done? Don’t get me started...

All TV industry watchers know that, thanks largely to Lenny Henry, diversity remains high on television’s agenda. In the past year or so, the BBC, Channel 4 and Sky have each made big announcements, pledging to improve their on-screen representation of minorities and to do more to nurture and encourage multi-ethnic and diverse workforces.

But has genuine change finally kicked in? That was the question that Sky News reporter Afua Hirsch wanted answering as she chaired a packed and often emotional RTS event provocatively entitled "Diversity: job done?".

Disabled people still under-represented in TV

According to Creative Skillset's workforce survey, released in May, the proportion of disabled people in television is still much lower than in the economy as a whole and has not improved for 10 years.

Just 5% of those who work in TV consider themselves to be disabled, compared with 11% of the wider working population.

Comprising over 1,100 respondents, the poll is the largest survey of skills and training issues of individuals working across television.