BBC Commits £100 Million to Diverse Productions & Talent


The BBC will use £100 million of its commissioning budget over the next three years to ramp up its slate of diverse and inclusive content.

The BBC’s Creative Diversity Commitment also creates a mandatory 20 percent diverse-talent target in all new network commissions from April 2021. “The measures announced today are designed to accelerate the pace of change in increasing diversity and inclusion both on and off air,” the public broadcaster said. “These steps are all part of the ambitious journey we are on to transform the BBC inside and out and make a real difference to the industry and to society at a critical time. The £100 million investment will support our commitment to diversity and inclusion in our TV output across all genres, including children’s, education and current affairs.”

The BBC’s Creative Diversity Commitment promises to increase diverse stories and portrayal on-screen, increase diversity in production teams and increase the broadcaster’s commissions from diverse-led production companies.

“The senseless killing of George Floyd—and what it tells us about the stain of systemic racism—has had a profound impact on all of us,” said Tony Hall, the Director-General of the BBC. “It’s made us question ourselves about what more we can do to help tackle racism—and drive inclusion within our organization and in society as a whole. This is our response—it’s going to drive change in what we make and who makes it. It’s a big leap forward—and we’ll have more to announce in the coming weeks.”

June Sarpong, director of creative diversity at the BBC, added, “I came to the BBC as an outsider. Before joining I had an idea of this being an organization that did not want to change. What I found was something different: an organization that had ambitious goals for diversity and inclusion but didn’t know how to reach them. This commitment will help to drive real change that will be felt by all audiences. It will also create a strong framework to help diverse storytellers succeed at all levels of the industry. As director of creative diversity, I’m pleased that we’re announcing this fund as the first of a series of bold steps that will help make the BBC an instrument of real change. As a black woman, I feel and share in the pain that so many are feeling worldwide. It makes it all the more important that we show up now not just with words but with meaningful action.”

Charlotte Moore, director of content at the BBC, noted, “When I met Steve McQueen last year during the making of Small Axe, he challenged me and the BBC to set meaningful targets and take proper action. He was right. Today’s announcement represents a truly transformational commitment to both on and off-screen representation. Concrete, tangible action is the only way we can bring about real sustainable change.”

The BBC says that to support its new Creative Diversity Commitment, it will host regular meet and greets across the country so that talent from traditionally under-represented minority groups can engage with BBC staff and external suppliers. It also aims to develop a “diverse digital database.” It will work with the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative on the Belonging Blueprint aimed at establishing new practices to create wider access to entertainment industry jobs for traditionally marginalized individuals.