Celia Taylor: broadcasters must set diversity agenda

4 Ways to Embrace Diversity

Sky head of non-scripted content Celia Taylor has said broadcasters must use their power to “set the agenda” and promote greater diversity in the industry.

Speaking at Sheffield DocFest yesterday Taylor urged other broadcasters to follow Sky’s lead in prioritizing the issue

In August Sky committed to only ordering shows in which 20% of the on-screen talent was from an ethnically diverse background and to work with producers which employed a black, Asian and minority ethic (BAME) person in a senior position.

“We will be much more favorable to indies that succeed in doing that,” she said.

Taylor said she refused to believe that indies were unable to find suitable candidates. “They’re out there, find somebody and promote them,” she said.

Incoming BBC head of factual Patrick Holland agreed that far greater BAME representation on TV is required and described the industry as having “a hideously white culture”.

He said it was “extraordinary” that the number of BAME applicants for assistant producer roles was lower today than when he was running a talent scheme for new documentary-makers at Channel 4 ten years ago.

Holland pointed to the level of diverse applicants to appear on Boundless’ The Apprentice as one of the format’s successes. “The audience see themselves on the television and then applies to be on the show next year,” he said.

ITV’s controller of factual Jo Clinton-Davis said she was disappointed it had taken so long for the industry to realize it must make “programmes that speak to the whole nation”.

Social diversity and gender

Channel 4 head of documentaries Nick Mirsky said addressing social diversity was equally as important, with more emphasis needed on helping a range of people believe they have something worthwhile to contribute to television shows.

Earlier in the day C4 head of specialist factual David Glover suggested the industry should commit to featuring more female presenters.

BBC head of factual Martin Davidson said that eight of the 15 presenters used by the BBC in its history programming were female, while head of international content for Nat Geo Hamish Mykura pointed to the number of female scientists featured in its Inside T.Rex show.

“I just think we could do better couldn’t we,” said Glover. “I certainly could, our team certainly could.”

Source: Broadcast Now –



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