People/Biz

Disabled, BAME representation “urgent” issue for UK TV industry: CDN report

The London-headqaurtered Creative Diversity Network (CDN) published the fourth annual report from its Diamond diversity and monitoring system Wednesday (Jan. 27). The report represents some 740,000 contributions by individuals working on- ...
January 28, 2021

The London-headqaurtered Creative Diversity Network (CDN) published the fourth annual report from its Diamond diversity and monitoring system Wednesday (Jan. 27).

The report represents some 740,000 contributions by individuals working on- and off-screen on qualifying TV content produced by the BBC, Channel 4, ITV, Channel 5/ViacomCBS and Sky, broadcast between Aug. 1 2019 and July 31, 2020.

Overall, CDN’s report found a lack of representation for many groups was more apparent off-screen than on-screen, especially among disabled people, over-50′s, transgender people and those from a Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) group.

Those gaps were particularly evident in drama, with the under-representation most acute in senior level decision-making roles.

In non-scripted, disabled people’s off-screen contributions were 6.2% in the entertainment genre; 4.8% in factual; 6.9% in factual entertainment; and 5.9% in lifestyle.

Off-screen contributions by those identifying as Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic amounted to 11.9% in entertainment; 12.4% in factual; 14.4% in factual entertainment; and 11% in lifestyle.

Transgender individuals’ off-screen contributions for factual and fact-ent was an abysmal 0.6% and 0.3%, respectively; while off-screen contributions by those 50 and over amounted to 23.4% in entertainment; 18.7% in factual; 13.8% in factual entertainment; and 17.7% in lifestyle.

On-screen, those figures were slightly higher. Contributions by disabled people came to 8.6% in entertainment; 7.6% in factual; 6.1% in factual entertainment; and 5.6% in lifestyle.

Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic individuals on-screen contributions landed at 19.5% in entertainment; 14.8% in factual; 20.7% in factual entertainment; and 11.9% in lifestyle.

For those identifying as transgender, on-screen contribution data across those four categories was limited to entertainment (0.2%), factual (0.3%) and factual entertainment (0.7%).

On-screen contributions by individuals 50 and over, meanwhile, came to 35.7% in entertainment; 31.3% in factual; 21.3% in factual entertainment; and 40% in lifestyle.

Despite what CDN called small and encouraging increases in the representation of disabled people on- and off-screen, the organization called for urgent action to address the issue.

Overall, Channel 4 had the highest number of off-screen contributions by women (55.3%), while ITV had the lowest (46.3%).

ViacomCBS had the highest percentage of off-screen contributions by Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic individuals (14.8%), with the BBC having the lowest (9.9%).

Channel 4 had the highest number of off-screen contributions by disabled people (6.8%) in contrast to Sky with just 3%. Sky, however, had the highest off-screen representation of over 50s (29.8%) compared with the lowest at Channel 4 (14.8%)

On-screen contributions by Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic individuals were highest at the BBC (26.5%), with Channel 4 the lowest (15.9%).

Disabled on-screen representation was highest at ITV (11.2%) and lowest at Sky (4.7%).

The number of contributions at a senior level made by females dropped to 47.1%, down from 50.4% in 2018-19. Women were found to be particularly underrepresented in the role of directors (29%); while those who identify with a Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic group are making only a low proportion of contributions as series producers (4.6%), directors (8.4%) and producers (9.3%).

Deborah Williams, CDN executive director, said in a statement: “The Fourth Cut highlights the scale of inequality still to be addressed, in particular for people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic groups and disabled people, if we are to build an industry from top to bottom which properly reflects our society, our viewers and the aspirations of anyone, from any background, who wants to use their talent to create world-beating television content.”

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