Data released by the Creative Diversity Network (CDN) during Black History Month has shown that people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) groups are still underrepresented in the UK television industry, with particular concerns about representation in decision making roles.

The new figures are collected from a new deep dive into BAME data collected by CDN’s Diamond diversity monitoring and reporting system, used by all the UK’s main broadcasters. They cover areas such as genre, seniority and type of role, primetime vs other content, and representation by different BAME groups.

The data reveals that contributions* to programmes made by BAME people working behind the camera fall below 10 per cent in most senior roles. Just 2.4% of Production Executives, 4.4% of Series Producers, 8.3% of Heads of Production and 9.3% Production Managers identify as BAME. 12.8% of the UK population is classified BAME.

In spite of the success of recent shows such as the BBC’s Noughts and Crosses and I May Destroy You, Sky’s Save Me, and ITV’s Unsaid Stories only 1.6% of writers working in UK TV identify as black – compared to 3% of the general population.

The data is based on 30,000 survey responses from workers in the UK television industry, making it one of the most comprehensive surveys of diversity in any British industry.

The data also showed a serious shortfall in representation in background “craft” roles.

Fewer than 5% of roles in Costume and Wardrobe, Hair and Make-Up and Set Design are filled by those from a BAME group, and fewer than 10% of programme contributions in Sound and Post Production.

There are so few BAME contributions being made in Lighting and Set Crafts, that CDN is unable to publish the data on these departments. Only camera work came close to true representation in behind the scenes roles, with 12.5% of camera operator roles filled by people from a Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic background compared with 12.8% of the general population.

There is a marked difference between on-screen and off-screen representation by genre. BAME people are far less likely to be working off screen than on screen in drama and factual and more likely to be working in current affairs.

Deborah Williams, chief executive of the Creative Diversity Network, said: “In spite of advances, it’s clear from the Diamond data that the UK TV industry has a long way to go before it is genuinely representative of its viewers, and particularly in the off-screen and senior working opportunities it offers to people from different ethnic backgrounds.

“While we applaud the efforts broadcasters and producers have made to improve on-screen representation, the industry must match this by taking meaningful and sustainable action to increase off-screen diversity.”

 

*Similar to a programme credit. Each programme contribution is assigned the diversity characteristics of the individual who made that contribution. A single contribution relates to a transmission of a single programme or episode.

 

Jon Creamer