Film and television industry 'discriminates against women, ethnic minorities and the working class'

 

The British film and television production industry is dominated by the middle-classes who “hoard” opportunities and benefit from family ties, new research has found.

A survey of professionals in the industry has found that working-class people are discriminated against because they do not have the “right accents, hairstyles, clothes or backgrounds.”

Presenting the study yesterday at the British Sociological Association’s annual conference, researchers said people from working-class backgrounds, women and those from ethnic minorities did form networks within the industry, but they were not as powerful and were “discriminated against because they were not trusted insiders.”

“Most jobs were gained through friends and friends of friends,” the researchers from Durham University and the University of St Andrews said. “Openings were rarely advertised and producers tended to rely on the grapevine.”

The researchers interview 77 people working in the TV and film production industry. Of those interviewed, 64 were middle-class.

The release of the study comes after actor Maxine Peake spoke out about the lack of working class female film roles in Britain.

In an interview with Radio Times magazine, the Bolton-born actor best known for playing Veronica in Channel 4's Shameless, said: "It's still rife. We're still obsessed with accent and class in this country. If you look at actors, loads are working class. But look at women and there's only Samantha Morton, really. All the others - Kate Winslet, Keira Knightley, Emily Blunt, Rebecca Hall - they're all brilliant, but there's no female working class.”

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