The BBC has pledged to spend £100m on “diverse productions and talent” over the next three years.
In an announcement made on Windrush Day (22 June), the network shared their Creative Diversity Commitment, a pledge to spend £100m on “diverse and inclusive content” across all genres, including children’s education and current affairs.
Starting in 2021 and spread over the following three years, the funding will come from the BBC’s current content budget, in what they are describing as the biggest financial investment in diverse programming in the UK TV industry.
As part of this commitment, the BBC has also pledged that from April 2021, 20 per cent of all “talent” on and off screen will come from a diverse background, including Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME), socioeconomic or disability diversity.
The BBC’s Director-General Tony Hall, said: “The senseless killing of George Floyd – and what it tells us about the stain of systemic racism – has had a profound impact on all of us. It’s made us question ourselves about what more we can do to help tackle racism, and drive inclusion within our organisation and in society as a whole.
“This is our response – it’s going to drive change in what we make and who makes it. It’s a big leap forward – and we’ll have more to announce in the coming weeks.”
The news comes after 12 Years a Slave director Steve McQueen said that the UK TV and film industries needed to address and challenge the “blatant racism” within itself.
“Last year, I visited a TV-film set in London,” he wrote. “It felt like I had walked out of one environment, the London I was surrounded by, into another, a place that was alien to me… The UK is so far behind in terms of representation, it’s shameful.”
McQueen admitted that despite “trying very hard” to get more black people on set of his forthcoming BBC series Small Axe, it had been a struggle, explaining: “We had tax breaks, incentives, financial support, but the only BAME people were the drivers and one electrician.
“The stark reality is that there is no infrastructure to support and hire BAME crew. And there is no infrastructure because there hasn’t been enough will or urgency to put it in place.”
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