Category Archives: News

Marianne Baptiste to Join Cast of ITV’s Broadchurch


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.

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Idris Elba Lands Development Deal with Shine North


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.

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News| BBC to end all-male comedy panel shows

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

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

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

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

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

(Image source:

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

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

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





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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