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BBC Studios introduces inclusion rider

The production arm of BBC Studios (BBCS) is introducing four steps to improve diversity and inclusion across its content and teams, including an inclusion rider for all new commissions.

Ralph Lee

BBCS Production has committed to a minimum target of 20% of its on-screen talent and production teams on all new BBC and third-party UK commissions coming from black, Asian, minority-ethnic backgrounds, having a lived experience of a disability or being from a low-income background.

There will also be an additional commitment to a target of at least one senior role on scripted and unscripted production teams being appointed from one of these backgrounds.

Effective immediately, the inclusion rider will apply to every new commission from the business’s scripted and unscripted teams across drama, comedy and factual, including the pubcaster’s natural history unit, factual entertainment and entertainment.

LGBTQ+ talent also forms part of the on-screen inclusion rider commitment but not off-screen teams, as BBCS Production has already exceeded this target.

The other three initiatives are: funding a new year-long trainee assistant producer programme to develop the next generation of content makers; a mentoring programme with ScreenSkills aimed at under-represented talent at assistant producer or script editor level or above; and the reation of a short film for schools covering all the behind-the-camera roles in drama, entertainment and factual to inspire them to pursue a career in the TV industry.

The initiatives have been introduced as the commercial arm of UK pubcaster the BBC looks to broaden its talent pool on both sides of the camera and enhance representation of audience groups across programme makers.

Ralph Lee, BBCS’s director of content, said: “As the UK’s biggest producer of content, my ambition has always been that BBC Studios Production leads the way in levelling the playing field for anyone wanting to join and thrive in our industry.

“These initiatives are by no means a magic bullet and we’re also doing a lot of work on culture and education to make our teams more inclusive. The talent in front of and behind the camera will give perspectives that will shape our content, making it more authentic and universal in its depiction of our audiences – and ultimately its appeal with them.”

BBCS diversity data, including separate lines for production and distribution, are published as part of the BBC Annual Report.

In addition, the inclusion rider’s progress will be recorded using industry methods such as Diamond, UK monitoring group the Creative Diversity Network’s monitoring tool.

Alongside these steps, BBCS is also developing a diversity and inclusion plan to lay out how it will continue to build a more inclusive workplace, to be launched globally in January.

BBCS owns brands such as Strictly Come Dancing (Dancing with the Stars), Top Gear, Doctor Who and Bluey. It has offices in 22 markets globally, including 10 production bases in the UK and production bases or partnerships in a further nine countries.

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