BBC commits £100 million of TV budget to “diverse and inclusive content”
The broadcaster’s Right the Script campaign also stipulates a mandatory 20 per cent of off-screen talent must come from underrepresented groups.
- Jenny Brewer
- 24 June 2020
- Reading Time
- 2 minute read
The BBC has announced its Creative Diversity Commitment in response to the Black Lives Matter movement, committing £100 million of its TV budget over three years to producing diverse and inclusive content. The broadcaster says this is “the biggest financial investment to on-air inclusion in the industry”. Meanwhile it has also introduced a mandatory target for off-screen talent; at least 20 per cent of all teams in new network commissions must be from underrepresented groups.
The Right the Script campaign has been spearheaded by the BBC’s director of creative diversity, presenter and campaigner June Sarpong, together with the BBC’s head of creative diversity Miranda Wayland. In a press release, the BBC said the media industry “is not changing fast enough” and that these measures were designed “to accelerate the pace of change”.
Sarpong said in a statement: “I came to the BBC as an outsider. Before joining I had an idea of this being an organisation that did not want to change. What I found was something different: an organisation that had ambitious goals for diversity and inclusion but didn’t know how to reach them. This commitment will help to drive real change that will be felt by all audiences. It will also create a strong framework to help diverse storytellers succeed at all levels of the industry.” She added that the fund is “the first of a series of bold steps that will help make the BBC an instrument of real change. As a black woman, I feel and share in the pain that so many are feeling worldwide. It makes it all the more important that we show up now not just with words but with meaningful action.”
Alongside the fund, the campaign also sets out plans to run regular meet-and-greets across the country to enable talent from underrepresented groups to engage with the BBC; to develop an accelerator program for on and off-screen talent; and to continue to invest in developing diverse leaders within the organisation. The Creative Diversity Unit will work with the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative on the Belonging Blueprint, a project aimed at establishing new practices to create wider access to entertainment industry jobs. It will also publish a new strategy over the summer in support of that initiative, with an “inclusion toolkit” to help the BBC’s creative staff and industry partners ensure diversity is at the heart of production.
The BBC echoed that this announcement “is not the end of the process,” with further plans being announced in the coming weeks, and a Diversity Commissioning Code of Practice being published later in the year. Progress on the commitment will be reviewed in the broadcaster’s annual report.