Speaking on the first day of the Edinburgh TV Festival, BBC content director Charlotte Moore said that now is the time that diversity needs to be hard-wired into the corporation, including the senior commissioning team.

“If we don’t reflect the nation we are making our programmes for, then we will have failed and eventually we won’t be able to meet the challenges of the next few years,” said Moore.

“I think this is the moment,” she continued, citing creative and business imperatives. “It’s been too long coming and it’s beholden on all of us in the industry to make this the moment of absolute change.”

Moore shared a trailer from Oscar winning director Steve McQueen’s BBC upcoming TV series Small Axe, also pointing to recent and current shows A Suitable Boy, Noughts and Crosses and I May Destroy You as examples of diverse programming. She believes that the £100m three year fund for diverse content and the 20 per cent target for diverse crews should underpin “a seismic change.”

“There’s much more to do,” said Moore. “We need to see diversity right at the top of the organisation, at the top of the commissioning teams, so we need to look at succession planning.”

Speaking at the same session, BBC controller of Entertainment Kate Phillips  talked about how the big brand shows were each taking different Covid routes. Top Gear is up and running, minus foreign trips, while the Apprentice has been put on pause, despite efforts by the production team to work around the restrictions. Bringing back Strictly has been a triumph of adaptation. “The studios have risen to the challenge,” she says.

Pitching big scale ideas right now requires digging deep on lateral thinking and sticking with the UK. “Please bring us big exciting ambitious ideas, but ideas that we can realistically do,” Phillips says optimistically.

Pippa Considine

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