Tag Archives: bbc

Tony Hall and the BBC Unveil Plans to Tackle Diversity

tony hall

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.


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.



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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June Sarpong Joins BBC Current Affairs Programme ‘Newsnight’


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.”

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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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Joanna Lumley Meets will.i.am in BBC One Documentary

Joanna Lumley to interview will.i.am for new BBC1 documentary

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.

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News| BBC Exec Pat Younge says US TV industry is more favourable to ethnic minorities

Pat Younge

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 EdgeSmall IslandLutherThe Shadow LineLine of DutyTop 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?

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BBC Director Calls for More Women’s Sport Coverage


Reposted from The Guardian

George Entwistle, the new BBC director general, has said in his first interview that the corporation should increase its coverage of women's sport following its successful coverage of the Olympics, where Team GB competitors including Jessica Ennis and Laura Trott won gold medals. Entwistle said that the BBC could not compete with Sky to buy the rights to some sports – but added that he believed there may be an opportunity tap into the growing interest in women's sport, where the cost of buying up the rights is likely to be lower.

"While I am director general, the BBC will carry on having a serious commitment to sport. But look at the latest BT/Sky Premier League deal, that comes in at about £6.5m per football game. We are simply no longer in that class," he said, in an interview in the latest edition of the Radio Times. "Look at growing interest in women's sport and what opportunities might there be for us in the future as different sports come to the public's attention. Women's sport could be a real opportunity for the BBC," Entwistle added.

The BBC retains TV rights deals for events including Wimbledon, Six Nations Rugby Union, some Formula One, the Olympics and the football World Cup and European Championship – with many of the events it shows protected by the so-called "crown jewels" rules that insist that some major events are broadcast on free-to-air television.

To read the full article, click here.

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News Article| What Does a Woman Have to do to Become the BBC’s Director General?

Caroline Thomson, BBC chief operating officer

As reported, it has been announced that George Entwistle has been appointed the new BBC Director General. The corportation's COO Caroline Thomson narrowly missed out on the top spot and with the BBC passing over the opportunity to appoint the first ever female DG, Jane Martinson – Women's Editor at The Guardian – asks the question: what does a woman have to do to become the BBC's Director General?

Reposted from The Guardian 

Bring out the bunting, wave the flags: a middle-aged man and former Newsnight editor is set to be director general of the BBC. Forgive the note of sarcasm. I have nothing against George Entwistle, by all accounts a thoroughly decent man who was picked today to run our national broadcaster despite his less-than stellar handling, as BBC Vision director, of the BBC's jubilee coverage. Yet so similar is he in outlook, temperament and background to the man he is to replace as director general that he is known internally as "mini-me".

Given that Mark Thompson was widely considered to have handled a difficult job well this, could be seen as no bad thing – a safe choice in a turbulent world. But today's appointment of a cookie-cutter BBC lifer, albeit with a good track record and few enemies, is not only uninspiring but raises the question: what does a woman have to do to be appointed head of the BBC? And if the British establishment continue to appoint in their own image in this way, what does that mean for diversity in Britain more generally?

This is not a call for indiscriminate positive discrimination, but if the government is as keen to do something about the lack of women leading big corporations as it claims to be, studying the detail of this appointment would be useful. And not just to decide which one of the candidates would be most likely to roll over and play dead the next time licence fee discussions come round.

Faced with enormous challenges for both the BBC and the media in general over the next five years, the BBC Trust, led by Lord Patten, appears to have paid serious consideration to a woman with a lot of relevant experience and given the job to a younger man anyway.

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George Entwistle Appointed as New BBC Director General

George Entwistle

Reposted from The Guardian

George Entwistle has been named as the new director general of the BBC. Currently the corporation's director of vision and a former editor of Newsnight, Entwistle will take over from Mark Thompson in the autumn on a salary of £450,000 a year. Entwistle beat his BBC colleague and the corporation's chief operating officer Caroline Thomson to the role. Ed Richards, chief executive of media regulator Ofcom, was also shortlisted.

Announcing the appointment on Wednesday, BBC Trust chairman Lord Patten said: "George is a creative leader for a creative organisation. His experience of making and delivering great programmes that audiences love – built up through many years of working for the corporation – will prove invaluable as he and his team work to ensure the BBC remains the greatest broadcaster in the world. Above all, George is passionate about the BBC, is committed to its public service ethos and has a clear vision for how it can harness the creativity and commitment of its staff to continue to serve audiences in ever more innovative ways."

Entwistle, who was Thompson's preferred candidate as his successor, said: "I'm delighted that the chairman and trustees have decided I'm the right person for the job.And I'm very excited about all that lies ahead. I love the BBC and it's a privilege to be asked to lead it into the next stage of its creative life."

Thompson, who announced in March that he would step down after the London Olympics after eight years in charge, said: "I think this is a brilliant appointment. "George has shown himself to be an outstanding leader with an intuitive understanding of public sector broadcasting. He has a formidable track record as a programme maker and in recent years has also shown his calibre as a leader. I wish him and the BBC every success in the years to come."

Patten paid tribute to Thompson, saying his "creativity, vision and leadership have made him an outstanding director general of the BBC and he will be sorely missed."

This is the memo he sent to BBC staff when his appointment was announced:

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The BBC in Talks About a State-Subsidised Arts Channel

The issue of diversity goes beyond race, gender and class; it also takes into account the content, stories, perspectives and subject matters that we see on our screens. Now it seems like the arts will be coming to mainstream television as the BBC are in talks to create a permanent designated channel. See below for more information. 

Reposted from The Guardian

Talks are underway to provide the first permanent state-subsidised arts TV channel with funders already hoping that an experiment involving the BBC this summer will pave the way for a more lasting arrangement, the Guardian has been told.

Arts Council England, the body which distributes public money from the government and National Lottery to arts organisations, revealed it was in discussions with the corporation just hours after the culture secretary,Jeremy Hunt, had floated the idea of just such a channel and making state grants to arts, cultural and heritage organisations conditional on them supplying content.

The minister had suggested developing an online presence for live performances "to ensure we reach the largest possible audiences completely free of charge" . In a speech to arts groups in London on Monday, Hunt had urged them to build on the experience of The Space, a pop-up online channel funded to the tune of £4.5m by the arts council and the BBC. It began broadcasting last month and was due to close in October but the council said talks are now under way to extend the scheme, which they hoped would be permanent.

Praising The Space where "you can listen to John Peel's record collection, see hip-hop dancing from Sadler's Wells, enjoy a live broadcast of Britten's War Requiem or watch the entire Globe to Globe Shakespeare season", Hunt asked: "Should we turn this into something much more ambitious? A permanent digital channel with live broadcasts every night of our very finest cultural offerings? Indeed should it be a condition of government funding to supply some live content – whether from museum exhibitions, live performances or parts of our heritage – for a new digital arts channel to ensure we reach the largest possible audiences completely free of charge?"

The culture secretary said this could help organisations explore new revenue streams, new partnerships and new sponsorship arrangement. Asked later whether the government would be dangerously dictating to the arts sector by making groups provide free content for a digital channel, he said: "I don't think arts organisations will resist this at all because it's part of their core mission to make sure that their output is seen by as many people as possible."

For the full article, click here

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