The TV Collective’s Breakthrough Leaders programme is returning for a fourth year. The initiative, co-devised by Remy Blumenfeld, will work in collaboration with Fremantle, BBC Studios, Prime Video, Sky and ITV Studios for the first time.

The programme aims to identify and empower 50 exceptional individuals from Black, Asian and Global Majority backgrounds who are poised to become the future leaders of the UK TV industry.

Nominations for this year’s programme open on Monday 4th March 2024 and the unveiling of the chosen 50 Leaders is scheduled for Tuesday 30th April 2024.

Together with Fremantle, the first three years of Breakthrough Leaders have played a pivotal role in nurturing careers and have seen more than 150 TV professionals benefit from the initiative, with 95% of recognised Leaders acknowledging improved career prospects. Furthermore, 100% of Leaders reported the effectiveness of the career coaching provided by the initiative.

Significant achievements include a 30% advancement rate for Black, Asian and Global Majority Leaders, securing promotions to new and more senior roles within the UK TV industry, showcasing the programme’s tangible impact. Notable Breakthrough Leaders include Nasfim Haque’s appointment as Head of Content for BBC3, Vanessa Van-Yeboah’s promotion to Series Editor on the return of Big Brother, Waris IsIam’s directing work on the fourth season of ITV’s The Bay and Janine Thomas, Channel 4 Commissioning Editor, slated to transition from her role in the documentaries unit to spearhead the Broadcaster’s Untold Youth strand.

With first-time support from the Film and TV Charity, which supports the mental health and financial well-being of behind-the-scenes workers, and the BBC, this year takes on renewed importance against the backdrop of a challenging economic landscape, as revealed by the Economic Downturn Survey Report released by the TV Collective in October 2023. The report disclosed that over 50% of Global Majority TV professionals are currently unemployed, with 85% experiencing a decline in opportunities compared to the previous year. A staggering 75% are contemplating leaving the industry altogether, citing financial strain, career stagnation, and fear of bias and discrimination as primary reasons.

This year’s initiative aims to promote regional talent by encouraging increased nominations from across the UK, with the BBC actively supporting this endeavour. Additionally, the initiative seeks to garner more nominations for individuals who identify as disabled or are employed in high-demand professions.

Selected participants will again benefit from exclusive masterclasses and networking events that connect them with influential decision-makers across the industry.

The scheme will also offer bespoke career guidance and continuous support from leading industry figures throughout the year. Leaders will become integral members of a dynamic community, fostering success and shaping the future of the TV industry. A personalised coaching experience will advance personal performance, defeat self-limiting beliefs and unlocking their full potential.

Amelia Brown, Fremantle UK CEO, says: “The work of The TV Collective is incredibly important to TV production, and we’re proud to be partnering with them again for the Breakthrough Leaders programme. There’s never been a more important time to help support and grow talented individuals who are still underrepresented, and we’ve seen first-hand the exceptional work, and in turn the benefit to the industry, this initiative provides.”

Luke Seraphin, Head of Diversity & Inclusion, Sky Original Programming, says: “Whilst progress is being made to increase representation in the TV industry, senior-level representation remains far below where it should be. With that in mind, Sky is proud to support The TV Collective’s Breakthrough Leaders programme to nurture and support the leaders of today and tomorrow from under-represented groups.”

Fozia Khan, Head of Unscripted, Prime Video / Amazon MGM Studios says: “The TV Collective have an incredible track record for developing and progressing Senior Creative Talent from historically excluded groups. That’s why Prime Video is excited to be sponsoring the 2024 Breakthrough leadership programme. We want to ensure there is greater representation of diverse creative talent in key decision making roles so that our industry has wider visibility and access, but ultimately, for our audiences/customers to know that their voices are being reflected both in front and behind the camera.”

Ade Rawcliffe, Group Director of Diversity & Inclusion ITV, adds: “As an industry and as broadcasters, we have a combined responsibility to keep pushing to improve representation at senior levels. This programme has been brilliant at spotlighting and elevating talented diverse leaders across the industry. If you can’t see it, then you can’t aspire to be it, which is just one of many reasons why The TV Collective’s Breakthrough Leaders is so very needed.”

Lisa Hardy, Director of HR, BBCS Productions, adds: “Whilst it’s great that audiences are seeing more and more on-screen characters and presenters they can identify with, what The TV Collective’s Breakthrough Leaders programme uniquely helps to address is representation in senior level roles. BBC Studios is proud to play a part in supporting this continued transformation.”

Simone Pennant MBE, (pictured), Founder of The TV Collective, comments: “In these challenging times for our industry, individuals from global majority backgrounds often bear the initial impact. The collaboration of five major UK studios to back this year’s Breakthrough Leaders sends a strong message about the continued importance and commitment to push underrepresented talent to leadership roles and ensures a practical boost in support and resources for this year’s leaders. We are extremely grateful for their contribution.”

Jessica Schibli, Head of Creative Diversity BBC, says: “We are proud to be supporting the TV Collective’s Breakthrough Leaders programme this year to accelerate the development of underrepresented talent in leadership roles across the UK.”


Pippa Considine

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