People/Biz

BBC launches strategy to boost disability representation

BBC released its multi-prong corporate strategy Tuesday (Dec. 3) to improve disability representation on- and off-screen in 2020. The measures are designed to create new opportunities for disabled staff to “move around ...
December 3, 2019

BBC released its multi-prong corporate strategy Tuesday (Dec. 3) to improve disability representation on- and off-screen in 2020.

The measures are designed to create new opportunities for disabled staff to “move around and up” the BBC more easily, and to boost the number of disabled people working on the pubcaster’s flagship programs.

BBC Elevate aims to give disabled production talent with “some industry experience” the chance to work on its biggest shows such as Strictly Come Dancing, Call The Midwife, Who Do You Think You Are? and Ready Steady Cook.

The strategy, an extension of BBC’s internal development program for disabled staff, is intended to “unlock any barriers” and create a “pool of off-screen disabled talent” regularly working in broadcasting across the UK.

Also part of its three-part plan, the BBC has committed to roll out “improved incidental and integrated disability portrayal” in its existing programs and core brands.

Landmark content will be specially commissioned in 2020 and beyond, along with the return of series with disability themes and disabled characters such as Jerk, The A Word and There She Goes.

New programs include BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner (pictured) confronting the challenges of suddenly becoming disabled; comedian and presenter Alex Brooker exploring what disability means to him; and actor Mat Fraser curating a series of ambitious and challenging monologues on the theme of disability.

Lastly, the company is introducing the “BBC passport,” a centralized document that records the needs of disabled staff designed to support a “smooth transition between roles” within the organization. The passport will be rolled out in early 2020.

The work follows a report carried out last year involving hundreds of staff which made recommendations on how the BBC can ensure staff progress at the corporation.

“BBC Elevate intends to make a tangible difference to the careers of many talented disabled people in TV who face some particular challenges with progression. We want to shift the dial for the longer term, and we are determined to replicate some of that across the industry,” BBC disability lead Allan MacKillop said in a statement.

About The Author
Jillian Morgan is a staff writer at realscreen with a background in journalism and digital marketing. She joined the publication in 2019 after serving as the assistant editor to trade publications HPAC and On-Site. With a bachelor of journalism from the University of King's College in Halifax, she also works as a freelance writer and fact-checker.

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