The BBC has demonstrated a strong commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion in its TV and Radio content, exceeding its original pledge. Over the first two years of its Creative Diversity Commitment, the BBC invested a total of £128.5m, surpassing the initial commitment of £112m for on-screen and on-air diversity.
Throughout the year, the BBC aired a wide range of TV programs that authentically represented its diverse audiences. This effort involved nurturing diverse voices and working with inclusive casts and crews in productions like “My Name Is Leon,” “Avoidance,” “Ranger Hamza’s Eco Quest,” “Lenny’s One Love,” “Una Marson: Caribbean Voices,” “The Wedding,” and the “Women’s Euros.”
The three-year commitment (spanning 2021/22 to 2023/24) aimed to allocate a minimum of £112m, with £100m dedicated to TV and £12m to Radio. This investment was focused on integrating diversity into all aspects of program commissioning across various genres.
In the second year of the commitment, the BBC directed £61m to support a total of 118 TV programs, building upon the initial £59m investment in the first year, which supported 92 programs. Additionally, £8.5m was invested in nearly 290 diverse Radio commissions over the two-year period.
For 2023/24, the BBC plans to take further steps by setting specific criteria for financial investment in programs. To qualify for funding, programs must meet at least two of the following three criteria: diverse stories and portrayals, diverse production leadership, and diverse company leadership. The BBC is committed to promoting change in the industry and accelerating diversity and inclusion across the UK by selecting programs that truly represent all audiences.
Chinny Okolidoh, BBC Director of Diversity & Inclusion, says: “I’m really proud of the progress we’ve made through our Creative Diversity commitment which is making a real difference in improving diversity off-screen and ensuring what audiences experience on-screen and on-air is more diverse, inclusive and authentic. There is still more to do across the whole industry and we’re working with other broadcasters and streamers to make a positive difference. We’ve always said the £112m investment was a starting point. Diversity and inclusion is an absolute priority for the BBC and we’re fully committed to reflecting our audiences and improving representation, inclusion and accessibility even further across our content.”
In the previous year, the BBC took several steps to transform its programming and better represent the public. This included a specific focus on disability representation, with the launch of commitments to improve access for disabled individuals on and off screen. As part of this effort, the BBC co-founded the TV Access Project (TAP) with other major broadcasters and streamers to ensure better access provisions for disabled talent in the TV industry.
The BBC has also implemented initiatives like the ‘Access First Titles’ scheme, working with the BBC Creative Diversity team and Access Coordinators to involve disabled talent in productions such as “The One Show,” “Morning Live,” and “Silent Witness.” Moreover, the BBC Elevate scheme has supported the career advancement of mid-level deaf, disabled, and neurodivergent talent, offering 22 placements within production companies on various shows.
To support diverse on and off-screen talent, the BBC Writersroom has provided assistance to over 100 writers, with a significant representation of 33% from ethnically diverse backgrounds, 50% being women, and 15% having a disability.
Furthermore, the Diverse Talent Development Fund, which sets aside £2m annually, has supported 153 programs during 2022/23. The BBC has plans to extend this fund to cover sports-related content. The Small Indie Fund, with an annual allocation of £1m, also supports small production companies, with 52% of the companies supported in the previous year having diverse leadership, a rise from 42% in 2021/22. Additionally, in the Radio sector, a new annual £250k Indie Development Fund is assisting diverse independent production companies in securing BBC commissions.