Five TV professionals from in front of and behind the camera talk about how they got into TV and what it's like to work in TV with a disability.
diversity in media
If you thought that defining diversity was easy, think again. As the chair of a stimulating and thought-provoking RTS event, Aaqil Ahmed, formerly the head of religion and ethics at the BBC, concluded: “Diversity in itself is diverse. For me, that understanding of it isn’t there for a lot of people.… It’s not a numbers game… diversity is very complicated.”
Throughout the “Defining diversity? That’s easy” session, attempts to provide a definition that all the panel could agree on proved elusive.
Veteran presenter Lorraine Kelly led a storming session on the challenge of social mobility in the TV industry, telling the Cambridge audience it was “a miracle I’m standing here talking to you”.
Thirty-five years after the Scottish presenter first appeared on our screens, she remembered: “My TV career was almost over before it began. Being working class when I started out meant a lot of doors in telly were firmly closed to me.”
It was spring 2014. Actor David Gyasi had just landed his first lead role, playing special agent Marcus “Ash” Ashton in the action-packed BBC One drama series The Interceptor.
The new initiative is part of the commitment made by channel 5 to create mainstream programmes that accurately reflect contemporary Britain.
The TV Collective was founded ten years ago by Simone Pennant and promotes the commercial and creative value that having diversity can bring to British film and TV studios.
Channel 5 are looking for nine small or medium size BAME companies, primarily based in the regions, who are owned and managed by BAME talent.
A brand-new line up has been announced for Junior Bake Off.
Comedian, author and lover of big shirt collars, Harry Hill, will host the new 15-part series.
Joining Hill will be judges Prue Leith, currently a judge on The Great British Bake Off, and Bake Off alumni Liam Charles, fresh from hosting Bake Off: The Professionals.
Targets of the campaign include increasing on screen representation of the LGBT community and reserving more internship placements for disabled people.
The aim is to set new standards for the television industry and better reflect the diversity represented in the general British public.
“The BBC has a breadth and scale that is unique in the UK’s media, and that means what we do has real impact," said Director-General, Tony Hall.
Eight months on from the broadcasters announcing new initiatives on diversity, across the industry there’s a sense of a nettle being grasped. On screen, in production offices and in commissioning teams, there are signs of real change. And that’s long before the data is published that will measure it.