Published on: 22 November 2023 in Industry

Directors UK responds to CDN deep dive report on Writers, Directors and Producer Directors

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Directors UK and the Writers Guild of Great Britain asked the Creative Diversity Network (CDN) to produce a report exploring the diversity of writers and directors working in TV production.

Based on their own data, supplied directly from the broadcasters, CDN have today published this report: Writers, Directors and Producer Directors: A six-year overview of Diamond data 2016/17 to 2021/22.

The report has further evidenced what we already knew - that women, people of colour and those with disabilities are significantly under-represented in senior television production creative and editorial roles compared to their proportion of the population.

Today, we responded: 

Directors UK CEO Andy Harrower added: “If broadcasters genuinely want to address this systemic issue, they have to have clearer commissioning targets, a willingness to hire under-represented talent and commit to a structure that supports career progression. Transparent data reporting is also key to holding the broadcasters to account.”

Better Hiring Practices

As the professional association for screen directors, Directors UK has been campaigning for nearly 10 years to try and improve the diversity of the directors that make shows for the UKs broadcasters. It is fair to ask us what we’ve done to shift the dial.

• We’ve published our own reports on the under-representation of women directors and directors of colour.

• We've worked with broadcasters on creating paid placements for a director or directors – helping them to be seen and hired.

• We’ve invited commissioners into rooms with our members to widen awareness of the diverse talent that exists in our industry.

• We’ve attempted to network producers and talent managers together with members so that they can build relationships and increase their visibility, and therefore the chance of getting hired for a job.

• We support the training and skills building of our members through specific craft-based training, and peer-to-peer learning, that equips them with the skills to ‘be ready’ for their next job.

• We’ve made a number of recommendations about how broadcasters can help with diversity amongst the directors they hire.

And we’ll continue to work with the broadcasters as far as we can. But, whilst this work matters and these interventions help small numbers of directors – we can’t give directors jobs.

Only commissioning broadcasters and their chosen production partners can do that. They must take responsibility for systemic change through hiring.

Better Data Reporting

To help us, and others, keep track of the results of the broadcasters ED&I actions, we need to see data published annually around the diversity of senior editorial roles (including directors) broken down by broadcaster, and at programme level. The current reporting by CDN through Diamond and their annual ‘Cut’ reports does not share enough detail to understand the true state of how each broadcaster is doing.

The diversity reports that the broadcasters themselves release indicate what they are doing with inhouse staff, on screen talent and amongst crews, but we know very little about their efforts around diverse authorship. With clear, transparent and detailed reporting, they can set targets around senior authorial roles (i.e. writers and directors) and we can clearly understand how they are doing against them.

Over the years we’ve repeatedly asked CDN to report the data they collect by broadcaster, and backed calls for Ofcom to ensure greater diversity reporting on freelance workers.

We repeat the ask to CDN, and will be writing to Ofcom to ask that they mandate that this level of data is reported consistently and transparently, in order for the industry to hold the broadcasters to account.

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