UK TV Falling Short On Disability Targets

The UK’s TV broadcasters will be seven years late in hitting industry targets for the representation of disabled people off-screen across the entirety of the country’s TV industry, according to a new report.

Televisual reports that the latest findings come from the launch in 2018 of the Doubling Diversity cross-party initiative, which has been led by non-profit body The Creative Diversity Network (CDN), with support from the BBC, Channel 4, ITV, Sky, ViacomCBS, and the independent producers’ association Pact.

The central aim of the initiative was a commitment by the main broadcasters in the UK to double the percentage of disabled people working in off-screen roles across the industry by the end of 2020, which was extended to 2021 due to the pandemic.

However, according to the latest data, there has been only a small increase of 0.9 per cent in the proportion of disabled people in off-screen TV production roles, from 4.5 per cent in 2017 to 5.4 per cent in 2020.

If the rate of change goes unchecked, then it will be 2028 at the earliest until the Doubling Diversity targets of 9 per cent are met, according to CDN, and the industry will not be representative of the UK working-age population in terms of disability until 2041.

CDN executive director Deborah Williams said: “It has been a year that has tested the industry and its ability to adjust to changes both cultural and financial

“As well as adapting admirably to working in the pandemic, the new measures that have been put in place for better race and ethnicity representation are to be applauded. So I’m hopeful that the message about disability will also be embraced.”

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