Over the next year, 12 drama directors will be mentored on one of the 4 flagship continuing dramas (EastEnders, Holby City, Doctors & Casualty); and, as part of their training, they will receive a full credit on one episode of their assigned programme. If the director has shown that they can meet the standards required, the show aims to hire them within 9 months for a full directorial commission.
The multi-talented and award-winning Javone Prince has landed on BBC Two with a brand-new sketch series. The Javone Prince Show looks at all facets of contemporary multicultural Britain; it questions who we are, what our attitudes are and why we have them. Each week, self-professed original loverman, Javone (PhoneShop, Horrible Histories) and friends will dissect 21st century Britain with a series of comedic takes on everyday life.
The Javone Prince Show (4×30') is the first production for Phil Bowker (PhoneShop, Pulling, 15 Storeys High) and Lee Tucker's (Silver River, Avalon) indie 'Lovely Electricity' and will be made jointly with BBC In-house Comedy Production. Myfanwy Moore (Little Britain) will be the executive producer.
Click here to watch Ep1 on iPlayer and brand new episodes Sundays 10pm on BBC Two.
Reposted from The Guardian
Polly Hill, the BBC executive responsible for Wolf Hall, Poldark and The Missing, has been appointed the new controller of BBC drama commissioning, one of the most powerful jobs in UK television. Hill succeeds Ben Stephenson, who is leaving to join Star Wars director JJ Abrams’ Bad Robot production company in the US.
Hill, who is currently head of independent drama at the BBC, has overseen productions including BBC1’s Poldark, The Missing, Ripper Street and Death in Paradise, and Wolf Hall, The Honourable Woman and The Shadow Line on BBC2.
Reposted from Broadcast
The BBC has formally commissioned its “epic” Steve McQueen drama about the experiences of a black community in west London. The corporation and UK indie Rainmark Films, the indie led by Game Of Thrones producer Frank Doelger and former BBC Films executive Tracey Scoffield, are aiming to shoot the anticipated six-part series in spring 2016.
McQueen, the Oscar winning 12 Years A Slave director, will direct and co-write the drama, alongside writers including Debbie Tucker Green, who won a Bafta TV award in 2012 for Channel 4 single Random. The series will chronicle the lives of a group of friends and their families living in west London between the 1960s and the present day. It has been in development since January 2014.
Reposted from Broadcast
- £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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.”
Reposted from BBC website. Image via Radio Times
In a one-hour film set to air in 2014, Joanna Lumley returns to BBC One to spend time with will.i.am – the man who has intrigued her since she saw him carrying the flame on the 2012 Olympic Torch Relay across Britain.
Joanna travels to Los Angeles, California to meet will.i.am on his home turf – spending time with him at his mansion in Los Feliz, meeting his friends and family, and returning with him to his childhood home in the social housing projects of Boyle Heights in East Los Angeles. She accompanies will.i.am as he journeys back to his old elementary school where the course of his life was changed forever by an inspirational teacher John Wright, and watches him compose and create a special song about his mother.
Charlotte Moore, Controller of BBC One, says: “In this very special documentary for BBC One, Joanna Lumley spends time with the intriguing will.i.am, hanging out with his friends and family and delving into his background to find out just what motivates this extraordinarily driven individual who seems more than anybody else to define the pace, energy and creativity of the time in which we live.”
Joanna will be talking to will.i.am about his childhood growing up in one of the toughest areas of Los Angeles, his school days and early moves into the music business, his massive success with The Black Eyed Peas and subsequently as a solo artist too, his relationship with President Obama, his work on The Voice, and the many ventures to which he devotes his time.
Emma Willis, Head of Documentary Commissioning for the BBC, says: “We’re absolutely delighted to be welcoming Joanna Lumley back to factual television on the BBC. Joanna is one of Britain’s most popular personalities and will bring warmth and insight to this unique documentary.”
Joanna Lumley Meets will.i.am (1×60-minute) was commissioned by Charlotte Moore, Controller, BBC One and Emma Willis, Head of Documentary Commissioning. The film will be executive produced by Mark Wells for Rain Media Entertainment, Steven Lappin for Big Red Productions and Maxine Watson, Commissioning Editor for the BBC. It will be produced and directed by Adrian Sibley.
Reposted from The Guardian
The BBC's most senior black executive has said he would have had a better and more lucrative career in the US because its television industry is more favourable to ethnic minorities. Pat Younge, who will leave his post as chief creative officer of BBC Productions at the end of this year, said there was still a lack of big, meaningful roles for black actors in UK drama, despite recent high-profile hits such as Line of Duty and Luther. Younge said it was "inconceivable" that a US drama would not have a black person in a prominent role because of the proportion of black viewers among its audience. But he said there were no roles for Chinese or Asian actors in the US, who he said were "frankly knackered".
The outgoing BBC executive, who has previously said British TV is run by a "pretty white commissioning and channel elite", said it is a pattern that is reflected behind the scenes in the UK. "I have lived in both [the US and the UK]. I would rather personally live in Britain as a culture, as a society, in terms of how different races live together and rub along side by side," Younge told Nicky Campbell on Radio 5 Live breakfast on Friday. "In terms of the economics of being a black TV executive, I would have a much better career and a much more lucrative career in the States because the economics of the industry drive it that way," he said. "First of all, the US has a bigger drama industry than we do here and secondly, African Americans make up one in eight of the population, there is an economic driver for the production companies and networks to include black actors…It's inconceivable in the States that you would have a significant drama that does not have a black person in a lead or second lead role."
Younge said there was anger among black actors about the "paucity of parts" for them in homegrown TV drama. "What they mean by parts isn't work – there is probably work out there – what they mean are meaningful roles which are fully rounded and have a decent back story." Younge said: "If you look at the last couple of years, Dancing on the Edge, Small Island, Luther, The Shadow Line, Line of Duty, Top Boy, it's not that there aren't parts, the challenge is in the writing…The challenge we face in UK TV is can we get more black writers through the system who can create these rounded parts, that will give these actors the work they are looking for."
To read the full article, click here.
What do you think is holding diversity back in the UK television industry?
'Yes, he's back. The Beeb have released a short video confirming that 'Luther' will be back for a third series. Filming starts this month so we should be seeing more of the brooding detective on our screens very soon!