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Tony Hall and the BBC Unveil Plans to Tackle Diversity

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tony hall

Reposted from Broadcast

Summary

  • £2.1m diversity fund
  • Creation of independent diversity board
  • Leadership and commissioning development schemes
  • Fresh diversity targets

Tony Hall has set out his blueprint for boosting diversity at the BBC, including creating a £2.1m commissioning fund to help ensure the corporation “represents every family and community in the UK”The director general unveiled the package of measures in a speech at Elstree Studios on Friday, where he said “it’s time for action” on diversity. It follows the issue being thrust to the forefront of the broadcasting agenda over the past 12 months.

As well as the £2.1m Diversity Creative Talent Fund, the BBC has created two leadership development programmes, introduced new staff diversity targets and an intern scheme. Hall will also create an independent board to keep the BBC’s progress in check. He has stopped short of introducing Lenny Henry’s proposal to ring-fence a percentage of the BBC’s annual commissioning budget for programmes that hit black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) representation targets. The comedian will, however, be part of the BBC’s Diversity Advisory Group, which also includes Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, Asian Network’s Nihal and footballer Jason Roberts. The panel of experts will monitor the broadcaster’s progress and is to be chaired by Hall.

 

Diversity fund

Although not a quota, the £2.1m fund – around 0.1% of the BBC’s £1.8bn TV budget – will address BAME portrayal on air. It will help support development of television projects across all genres, fast tracking ideas from diverse writers, talent and production staff. The funding will be re-prioritised from existing BBC budgets and be made available from September.

It is one of Danny Cohen’s biggest contributions to Hall’s diversity blueprint, and the director of television will also support a commissioner development programme, training six “commissioners of the future”. Successful candidates will be paid to complete a 12-month placement, working in genres including comedy, drama and factual. This is in addition to a leadership development programme for another six BAME individuals. They will be offered experience of working at the top of the BBC, collaborating directly with the executive team, which includes Hall and strategy boss James Purnell.

“The ambition is for those selected to become senior leaders in the industry,” the BBC said, adding that they will get training from the “respected” Clore Leadership Development Programme.

At the other end of the scale, the corporation will take on 20 BAME graduate trainee interns through the Creative Access Programme and plans to continue its work with the Stephen Lawrence Trust and the Mama Youth Project.

 

Targets

Hall’s announcement included a commitment to improve BBC HR’s approach to talent recruitment and management to ensure it is “best in class”. The team, led by incoming HR director Valerie Hughes-D’Aeth, will help shepherd a raft of “stretching” new diversity targets. Over the next three years, the BBC wants on air BAME portrayal to increase from 10.4% to 15%. BBC News has also set targets in London, Birmingham, Manchester and Leicester.

Off air, the BBC will aim to increase the proportion of its BAME senior management across television, radio and news divisions from the current level of 8.3% to 10% in 2017 and 15% in 2020. Its target of 14.2% across all staff will be unchanged. While BBC director general Hall admitted that results “won’t be achieved overnight”, he argued the blueprint “will make a tangible difference” and “help set the pace in the media industry”. The BBC’s progress will be reviewed “regularly” to ensure its record is “beyond reproach”, he added.

“The BBC gets much right on diversity, but the simple fact is that we need to do more. I am not content for the BBC to be merely good or above average,” Hall said. “It is something we have to get right. My aim is for the BBC to be the number one destination for talented people regardless of their background. It’s time for action.”

Simon Albury, former RTS boss and chair of the Campaign for Broadcasting Equality, said the package of measures is a “huge step forward”, but questioned the size of the Diversity Creative Talent Fund. “If progress is slower than Tony Hall expects, this is an area where the Independent Diversity Action Group could look to see a significant increase,” he said.

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Youngers Actress Shavani Seth Lands Role in Homeland

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shavani

Congratualtions to actress Shivani Seth (of Identitiy Drama School) who as landed recurring role in US series Homeland. The actress will appear alongside Clare Danes in series 4 of the hit show. Seth currently appears in in series 2 of E4's music themed drama Youngers

The new series of Homeland is set to premiere in the US in Autumn 2014.

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Sarah-Jane Crawford Confirmed as the Host of The Xtra Factor

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sarah jane

Radio 1Xtra DJ Sarah-Jane Crawford has been announced as the new host of The Xtra Factor. She replaces Caroline Flack who has spent the last three years at the helm of the ITV2 show. 

Speaking on the new role, Crawford tweeted:

 

This follows the news that Mel B will be the fourth judge on the upcoming series of The X Factor sitting alongside Simon Cowell, Cheryl Cole and Louis Walsh. 

Congrats Sarah-Jane! 

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June Sarpong Joins BBC Current Affairs Programme ‘Newsnight’

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june

Reposted from The Telegraph  (by Tim Walker)

While a candidate is yet to be announced to replace Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight following his resignation last month, Mandrake can disclose that Ian Katz’s latest recruit to the BBC’s flagship current affairs show is June Sarpong.

“I’m going to be doing some stuff for Newsnight,” June tells me at the Ubuntu Education Fund’s 15 Year Anniversary Gala dinner at the Roundhouse, Camden. “I’m not replacing Jeremy Paxman before the rumours start. I’m doing specials for them.”

The 36-year-old former T4 presenter has moved back to Britain from America ahead of the role. “I got back to London six weeks ago,” she explains. “I’ve gone from Sunday morning television to Newsnight, but you know we’ve all got to grow up, it’s all highbrow now.”

(more…)

Marianne Baptiste to Join Cast of ITV’s Broadchurch

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MArianne

Reposted from The Guardian 

Golden Globe winner and Oscar-nominated actor Marianne Jean-Baptiste is joining the second series of hit ITV drama Broadchurch.

Jean-Baptiste, who starred in CBS television series Without a Trace, Mike Leigh's Secrets and Lies, The Murder of Stephen Lawrence and this year's remake of the film RoboCop, is to play a role written especially for her by Broadchurch writer and creator Chris Chibnall.

(more…)

Idris Elba Lands Development Deal with Shine North

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idris

Reposted from Televisual

Shine North and Green Door, the production company set up by actor and producer Idris Elba, have signed a co-production deal to develop factual programming.  The agreement follows the collaboration with Elba on Idris Elba: King of Speed. The Shine North/Shine TV co-production premiered on BBC2 in December 2013 and has sold to over 100 territories globally.

The deal sees Shine North and Green Door working together to develop and produce factual programmes for the UK and international market, with Elba in producer and presenter capacities and drawing on additional expertise from within Shine Group as relevant. Shine International will distribute projects internationally.

(more…)

Watch| BAFTA Television Lecture 2014 delivered by Lenny Henry

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If you missed it, check out the annual BAFTA Television lecture delivered by Lenny Henry. In it he focusses his discussion on the opportunities for black andminority ethnic groups in the TV industry today. 

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News| BBC to end all-male comedy panel shows

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Reposted from The Independent  (image from The Guardian)

Mock The Week, Have I Got News For You, QI - all heavily male dominated BBC panel shows in which women guests are a scarce sight. Now, the BBC’s director of television has set out plans to tackle the issue head-on, by ordering that every episodes of each BBC panel show must have at least one female guest.

“We're not going to have any more panel shows with no women on them,” Danny Cohen told The Observer, “It's not acceptable.”

A BBC spokesperson has confirmed that, while all-male episodes already filmed will still be broadcast, all future programming will feature at least one female panel member or presenter. 

“There may be very rare occasions where shows that were already recorded – or whose panels were already booked ahead of the order – still have all-male line-ups, but hopefully the change should really become apparent,” they said.

One of the worst high profile offenders is BBC Two’s Mock The Week. According to the corporation’s Radio Times, just five of the 38 guest spots in its most recent series were filled by females – Katherine Ryan and Holly Walsh appearing twice each and Ava Vidal once. Even Jo Brand – one of the few females to regularly appear on Have I Got News For You and QI, says she will no longer appear on Mock The Week due to the competitive testosterone fuelled nature of the show.

“And neither do some male stand-ups I know,” she told The Observer. “We didn't like the prospect of having to bite someone's foot off before they let us say something.”

Mr Cohen added that the corporation is also working to feature more older women on its programming. “We are getting better,” he said, highlighting the example of historian Mary Beard. “But we need to do more.”

 

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Sochi 2014: Channel 4 goes rainbow to back gay rights

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Channel 4 rainbow logo for Sochi Winter Olympics

Reposted from The Guardian

Channel 4 is to rebrand its on-screen logo with rainbow colours of the gay pride flag – and launch a TV ad campaign called "Gay Mountain" – joining the rising wave of protests about Russia's anti-gay laws on the eve of the opening of the Sochi Winter Olympics. Channel 4, which has the TV broadcast rights to the Winter Paralympics, joins the growing ranks showing their support for gay athletes and protest against Russia's anti-gay laws.

The broadcaster's distinctive logo will be rebranded on Friday, the day of the opening ceremony, and the "what's on next" screens that air between shows will be similarly rainbow-emblazoned for the day.

Channel 4 is also launching a 90-second TV ad that will debut in prime time at 7pm on Friday – as BBC2's live coverage of the opening ceremony nears its climax – in a "roadblock" across its main channel, E4, More4 and catch-up station 4Seven.

(more…)

News| Diversity Pledges Put to the Test – via Broadcast

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Reposted from Broadcast

The Creative Diversity Network (CDN) is on the brink of unveiling a monitoring service that will assess how the major broadcasters’ are performing against their diversity targets – and compared with each other – for the first time. The aim is that the initiative will become a permanent benchmark to track the industry’s successes and failures, holding its key players to account. A pilot is set to launch in spring featuring the BBC, ITV, Sky and Channel 4. However, it is not clear how much of the data will be shared publicly.

Metadata system Silvermouse will be used to monitor workforces and on-screen representation in five key areas: ethnicity, disability, gender, age and sexuality. Broadcasters currently monitor diversity stats independently, but representatives on the CDN chief executive group have agreed to produce a standardised set of fi gures on a quarterly basis. The pilot has been signed off at CDN board level, but the final costs for the initiative will not be revealed until the end of February.

The creative industries are facing greater political pressure to get their house in order on diversity issues after culture minister Ed Vaizey held a roundtable with key figures to discuss the steep decline in BAME representation, as reported by Creative Skillset. Broadcast attended the House of Commons event alongside 40 leaders in TV, film and theatre, including BBC director of television Danny Cohen, Sky managing director of content Sophie Turner Laing and senior execs from Directors UK, the BFI and Pact. The consensus was that diversity monitoring is irregular, in effective and lacks accountability. Vaizey said he welcomed the CDN initiative and that there was “an accountability role for government to play”.

The CDN has also restructured with the launch of three working groups in news, commissioning and production. The groups will be headed by ITV director of news and current affairs Michael Jermey, BBC head of religion and ethics Aaqil Ahmed and Pact chief executive John McVay respectively. The plan is for programme-makers rather than diversity execs to set priorities. ITV chief executive Adam Crozier said: “Getting senior people around the table who have the authority to make change happen is an important step forward.”

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