Published on: 18 November 2015 in Campaigns

Directors UK at BAFTA’s Diversity in Television event

Reading time: 3 minutes and 43 seconds

Last night’s BAFTA Diversity in Television event saw Lenny Henry once again highlight the industry’s continued poor record with regards to black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) representation.

Lenny described the lack of in front of and behind the camera diversity as a “market failure” on the part of the UK’s television industry, and urged regulatory bodies like Ofcom and the BBC Trust, as well as the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, to force broadcasters to ringfence funds to address the issue. 

Likening the issue to nations and regions and children’s programming, Lenny suggested that programming quotas are an effective means of forcing the industry to improve: “Did Keo and Mentorn set up offices in Scotland because they suddenly developed a love of haggis? They moved there and sought out the best ideas and talent, because the BBC and Channel 4 ringfenced money for programmes made outside of London”.

The Diversity in Television event was designed to take a look back at what progress had been made in the 18 months since Lenny’s original headline-grabbing BAFTA speech about BAME representation. Lenny’s new speech was followed by a panel discussion featuring representatives from the major broadcasters and the production sector, to debate what progress has been made and what needs to be done to ensure growth and sustainability for diverse talent in the TV industry.

One of those on the panel was Directors UK Diversity Chair, Menhaj Huda. The recent Directors UK report, UK Television: Adjusting the Colour Balance, dominated the discussion, as it offers credible evidence for BAME under-representation in a key area of production.

Menhaj had this to say about the event: “Being on the panel rather than in the audience allowed Directors UK to have a real voice in highlighting our concerns on BAME representation within the industry. I felt supported from an audience that appreciated having someone speaking the truth about experiences they could relate to. It’s important that we keep building on this event to keep the pressure on - both publicly and privately - and to enforce real change that creates a level playing field for BAME talent”.

Here’s what some of the people in the audience and on Twitter were saying about the panel and our report:

BAFTA Guru have kindly made the full speech and discussion available to listen to:

BAFTA Guru aims to educate and inspire new generations of practitioners by celebrating the best in our creative industry. For more information on the 250 events they produce each year, please visit

BAFTA are conducting a Career Success Factors Survey to address the under-representation of particular groups within the TV, film and games industries:

  • BAFTA and Creative Skillset, with the BFI, have commissioned a team of researchers to conduct a study of successful individuals from under-represented groups. The research aims to inform policy and resources for employers and workers, with findings to be presented in spring 2016.
  • This is the first time, to BAFTA’s knowledge, that this sort of study has been done, looking at people who have stayed in the industry.
  • The majority of diversity schemes focus on entry level; this research will give insights into how the industry can help talented people to stay – and succeed – in the industry.

You can find out more about our research findings and recommendations in the full UK Television: Adjusting the Colour Balance report.

Read what BAME directors had to say about the report and their experiences in the UK television industry.

Photos courtesy of BAFTA/Jamie Simonds.

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