Like football scouts spotting a magical left foot, the deep-pocketed US streaming platforms have made no bones about scooping up the best of British on-screen talent. Charlie Brooker has signed to Netflix, Phoebe Waller-Bridge is in bed with Amazon Prime, and relative latecomer Apple TV+ is able to boast the likes of Ewan McGregor and David Attenborough on its books.
As Bristol City Council’s new senior film manager, I have finally reached a position where I can support and promote my two main passions – Bristol and filming in the West Country.
My role is to oversee the work of the Bottle Yard Studios and Bristol Film Office, and make sure that Bristol can build on its past successes and deliver a single, complete and consistent offer encompassing studio and location filming. And, despite the pandemic, there has never been a better time.
If you want some light reading, please do not dip into the Creative Diversity Network’s recent report, “Diamond: The Fourth Cut”. The statistics are grim, particularly when it comes to disability. According to the report, the UK TV industry has “urgent” work to do on disability representation, both on- and off-screen. This is an understatement of monumental proportions.
“The [TV] industry genuinely is changing for the better, but we are where we are because lots of people have talked about stuff and not enough people have done anything,” added the CEO of Plimsoll Productions.
“We’re trying to appeal to broad audiences. How on earth can we do that if it’s all being seen through the prism of a bunch of middle-class white people? They should be part of the group, not the whole bloody group.”
Mansfield was part of a panel assembled for an RTS West of England webinar in late June discussing the health of the region’s TV production.
The guidelines will allow productions to get up and running again, with the emphasis on the safety and well-being of employees.
The guide will be applicable to a broad range and scale of TV programmes of all genres and have been created with the collaboration of industry experts and the external expertise of Dr Paul Litchfield CBE.
Broadcasters have liaised with union representatives and the Health and Safety Executive and worked with First Option safety consultants to the media and entertainment industry.
In recent years, Channel 4’s new national HQ in Leeds and the BBC’s relocation of 2,300 posts to Salford have dominated our perception of out-of-London programme production.
This is perhaps not surprising: the corporation has the largest Ofcom quota for UK production outside the M25 – 50% – followed by Channel 4 and ITV, who both have 35%, and Channel 5, with 10%.