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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.

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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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Top Nollywood producer Obi Emelonye appointed as creative director of Screen Nation Awards

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One week after the Screen Nation nominations were announced, Obi Emelonye, Nigeria’s most successful Director/Producer of the last few years now firmly takes the helm as Creative Director for the 9th Screen Nation Awards. The Nigerian born, British-based filmmaker will bestow his artistic vision to a variety of homegrown and international African heritage stars from the UK and international film & TV industries.

The 2014 nominations saw global Nigerian talent lead the way with the overwhelming number of nominations in the much coveted People’s Choice African International Awards section with Ghana, South Africa and Kenya making up the numbers. Nigeria was also well represented within the highly competitive UK Screen Awards with Oscar contender Chiwetel Ejiofor and star of The Butler, David Oyelowo being the picks of the nominees. You can see the full list of nominees and vote for your favorite rising African talents exclusively at www.screennation.com

With all the major nominees converging on London for the film Bafta’s on the week before, this year’s Screen Nation is set to be one of the ‘hot’ awards ticket of the 2014 awards season. And with Obi at the helm the prestigious ceremony is anticipated to also host many Nigerian dignitaries and elite stars from both Hollywood and Nollywood who will attend to celebrate diversity.

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News| Broadcasting’s poor ethnic mix has an impact on everyone – via The Guardian

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(Image source: www.sfgate.com)

Reposted from The Guardian

Media folk tend to be, if not leftish then certainly liberal – with a small "L". Thinking of themselves and their industry as modern, forward-looking and in the best sense progressive, and naturally absolutely committed to equal opportunities. But in the midst of so many things going so swimmingly well – the position of women in broadcasting, for example, is arguably improving and even disability post-Paralympics has a higher profile than ever before – something else has gone very wrong indeed. Whereas in 2003 Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) people amounted to 7.6% of the creative industry workforce they now account for just 5.4% – a drop of a third over a decade during which their proportion of the population at large has grown significantly. In short, the position of BAME Britons in broadcasting and the creative industries is now significantly worse than it was ten years ago. So much so that a visitor from Mars – or even Brixton – might well be wondering if what was going on amounted to direct and deliberate racial discrimination.

This must count as one of broadcasting's biggest moves backwards, with plenty of potentially contributory factors.

ITV's London licensees – LWT and Thames (the latter replaced by Carlton in 1993) – used to see a clear commercial purpose in representing the capital's diversity – on air and off. It is probably no surprise that all three companies – and especially LWT – provided starting points for non-white production and executive talent who then moved off around the rest of the industry.

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‘Why do black actors like Idris Elba have to go to the US for success?’ – via The Guardian

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Idris Elba is one of a slew of black British actors forced to go to the US to find success

Reposted from The Guardian, written by Hugh Muir

Delicious rebellion on the Today programme as Simon Albury, the former chief executive of the Royal Television Society, addressed the trail of black British actors heading to the US for the career breaks they can't get here. How to explain the problem, asked Justin Webb. Easy, said Albury: the problem is "walking through your newsroom in the middle of London, when London is 40% black and minority ethnic and seeing one Asian, who is there to bring the guests in. Fourteen years ago, broadcasters said they were going to improve diversity and representation. We have had 14 years and very little progress."

He's right; too slow. And yes, that includes the Guardian.

Here's the puzzle: how can America be a superior bet for the likes of Idris Elba, Adrian Lester, David Harewood, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, given its history of racial strife and the astonishing inequalities that still exist? We think of the UK as more racially tranquil. So why is the US a better springboard?

Part of the answer, says writer Carol Russell, of the Fresh Voice Initiative, is industry specific. "The US increased its focus on diversity in the late 60s. This meant that talent both behind the camera and in front of the camera were able to learn their craft, which in turn led to shows such as The Cosby Show being made for primetime audiences, which in turn proved to be training grounds for the next generation of talent."

Some of it reflects perceptions of minority progress in both countries. Casting directors largely reflect society as they see it.

In the US, where there is massive inequality but also a substantial black middle class, they can envisage minorities in all sorts of situations and cast accordingly. Here that is more difficult to achieve.

Then there are corporate considerations. A 2011 report predicted black American buying power will reach $1.1trn by next year. That buys a deal of corporate attention. In Britain black and minority ethnic spending power is estimated at £300bn, but that has yet to trigger corporate reappraisal. Communities perceived as economically marginal will also be culturally marginal, because the cultural gatekeepers largely react to the landscape shaped by commerce. Sad our actors go west, but unsurprising.

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News| 12 Years A Slave lands 9 Oscar Nominations

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It looks like this year's Oscars will be a three-horse race with Gravity (10 noms), American Hustle (10 noms) and 12 Years A Slave (9 noms) leading the pack. The 86th Academy Awards take place on Sunday 2nd March. 

See the full list of noms below:

Best picture

12 Years a Slave

American Hustle

Captain Phillips

Dallas Buyers Club

Gravity

Her

Nebraska

Philomena

The Wolf of Wall Street

Best director

David O Russell, American Hustle

Alfonso Cuarón, Gravity

Alexander Payne, Nebraska

Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave

Martin Scorsese, The Wolf of Wall Street

Best actor

Christian Bale, American Hustle

Bruce Dern, Nebraska

Leonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf of Wall Street

Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave

Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club

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Corrie’s First Muslim Family Joins the Street

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Coronation Street to introduce its first Muslim family in 2014

via Radio Times

The family of Kal Nazir (Jimi Mistry) is to be introduced to ITV soap Coronation Street over the coming months in a plotline that will see Weatherfield's personal trainer open a gym in the area.

"We've already established that Kal's son and daughter both live with Kal's mum and dad, so we're going to bring them onto the Street," producer Stuart Blackburn told RadioTimes.com "It'll be the first Muslim family that Corrie has ever had."

Kal will go into business with his father Sharif (to be played by Marc Anwar) and corner shop owner Dev Alahan (Jimmi Harkishin) when they open a gymnasium at Victoria Court, the complex at the end of Victoria Street where Leanne (Jane Danson) and Nick Tilsley (Ben Price) currently reside.

"We've cast Kal's dad, who I'm already loving on paper. He's a man who retired some time ago after making enough money," revealed Blackburn. "You can imagine that he's had some health problems and his wife has told him, 'you're not going to work for 12 hours a day any more, you blithering idiot'."

Jimi Mistry's character Kal made his debut back in December 2013 when it was quickly established that he was a widower wth two children. Speaking at the time, the former EastEnders star said: "He's an alpha male – I think they were keen to bring in a strong male character. I like to think of him as someone who's quite charming and inspiring, but you can tell there's definitely another side to him. And this is what we’re going find out."

The family of Kal Nazir (Jimi Mistry) is to be introduced to ITV soap Coronation Street over the coming months in a plotline that will see Weatherfield's personal trainer open a gym in the area.

"We've already established that Kal's son and daughter both live with Kal's mum and dad, so we're going to bring them onto the Street," producer Stuart Blackburn told RadioTimes.com "It'll be the first Muslim family that Corrie has ever had."

Kal will go into business with his father Sharif (to be played by Marc Anwar) and corner shop owner Dev Alahan (Jimmi Harkishin) when they open a gymnasium at Victoria Court, the complex at the end of Victoria Street where Leanne (Jane Danson) and Nick Tilsley (Ben Price) currently reside.

"We've cast Kal's dad, who I'm already loving on paper. He's a man who retired some time ago after making enough money," revealed Blackburn. "You can imagine that he's had some health problems and his wife has told him, 'you're not going to work for 12 hours a day any more, you blithering idiot'."

Jimi Mistry's character Kal made his debut back in December 2013 when it was quickly established that he was a widower wth two children. Speaking at the time, the former EastEnders star said: "He's an alpha male – I think they were keen to bring in a strong male character. I like to think of him as someone who's quite charming and inspiring, but you can tell there's definitely another side to him. And this is what we’re going find out."

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Bafta Film Awards 2014: The Nominations

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Embedded image permalink

The 67th Bafta Film Awards will take place on February 16th at London's Royal Opera House. As expected, Gravity and 12 Years A Slave lead the pack; see below for the full list of nominations. 

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News| Steve McQueen: UK industry ‘hugely behind’ on diversity

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Reposted from ScreenDaily 

12 Years A Slave director Steve McQueen has told ScreenDaily that the UK film industry is “hugely behind” when it comes to employing a racially diverse workforce.

“The UK is behind on that, hugely. I think it has to be seriously looked at. Whatever I can do to help on that personally, I’m up for. It can’t continue,” he said this week in London.

Virtually none of the leading production, distribution, sales and finance companies in the UK are led by non-white executives and few of them can count many BAME (black, Asian and minority ethnic people) employees among their senior executive ranks. There is a similar picture among the public financiers, talent agencies, post-houses and studios.

“I don’t know why that is,” said BAFTA-winning director McQueen. “I didn’t meet one black person when I was making Hunger. On Shame, I didn’t meet many at all, though American crews are more mixed. I’m often the only black person there [on the set].”

Asked how he thought the industry could improve the lack of ethnic diversity in its ranks, Shame and Hunger director McQueen pointed to a perception problem but also said that those in positions of authority needed to be held accountable: “How does it happen? Does it happen at schools? People often look at the movies and see it as a Mecca on a hill but actually it’s like any other job…I don’t know the answers. I know I don’t like it. It’s something to make executives answer, make them feel uncomfortable about and maybe they’ll do something about it.”

This year Creative Skillset figures revealed a decline in BAME representation in the UK production, distribution and exhibition sectors between 2009-12.

BAME representation in full-time film production dropped from 12% in 2009 to 5.3% in 2012.

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