Directors UK welcomes the commitments made in Channel 4’s 360 Degree Diversity Charter to require the independent production companies they work with to deliver improved diversity both in front of and behind the camera and to make their own commissioning executives responsible for achieving diversity goals.
Directors UK has been actively campaigning to improve the representation of women and BAME directors in UK television production and commends Channel 4 for tackling this problem in an innovative way.
As part of the Charter initiatives announced, we welcome the invitation for Directors UK to work alongside Channel 4 in improving opportunities for women drama directors on their productions and we look forward to developing a mentoring scheme with them as part of this.
In 2014, a Directors UK report Who’s Calling the Shots? Women Directors in British Television Production highlighted the low employment levels of women TV directors, especially in drama where only 14% of all dramas were directed by women. The report called on broadcasters and production companies to increase employment opportunities for women, so that in 2017 women are directing 30% of all original programmes broadcast. Directors UK’s recommendations included monitoring of freelancers, behavioural change amongst those hiring freelance directors, training and mentoring, and raising awareness of female directing talent. Today’s announcement is a positive step towards achieving these recommendations.
Beryl Richards, Chair of the Directors UK Women Directors Committee: “We support the introduction of this diversity initiative by Channel 4, and for holding commissioners and production companies accountable. If broadcasters lead by example and demand that their commissioners and their production company suppliers improve employment opportunities for women directors, we believe that there can be a real and rapid improvement in the diversity of our programme-making workforce. It is great that initiatives are now being put in place towards achieving this and we are pleased to be part of the charter initiative on mentoring. What we now need to start seeing is real change both on and off our screens".
Menhaj Huda, Chair of the Directors UK Diversity Committee: “It is vitally important for broadcasters such as Channel 4 to make improving diversity central to their commissioning process. It is only through real commitment, at all levels, that change can happen. Leading from the top and bringing accountability to their commissioning teams and their indie suppliers is key. We look forward to working with the production companies and Channel 4 to ensuring this diversity ambition actually becomes reality".
In spring 2015, Directors UK will be publishing updated research data on the gender employment levels of TV directors alongside a new report on ethnicity employment levels for TV directors.