How Sky plan to play their role in modernising Diversity in UK Broadcasting

August 19, 2014
Pat Younge

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“Today we announced targets for dramatically rebalancing the presence of black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) people across Sky entertainment channels, both on and off screen.

I couldn’t be more excited about this. It means a lot to me and the team here. An influx of previously underrepresented talent is bound to generate a huge creative bounce, and I can’t wait for our customers to see the positive effects of that on their screens.

This is the first time we have ever set targets in this way. To make it work, we have kept them clear, simple, specific and bold so that this change on and off screen is measurable, genuine and lasting.

I’d like to thank the Cultural Diversity Network for their tireless work, and Lenny Henry, Floella Benjamin, Ed Vaizey and Jane Bonham Carter for their advice and support. We’re confident we can achieve the targets set out below, and look forward to working with others across the industry to expand the networks that produce, act, direct, design, write and commission for Sky customers in the UK and Ireland.

The three targets are:

1. On Screen Portrayal

 By the end of 2015, all our brand new, non-returning TV shows in Sky Entertainment will have people from BAME backgrounds in at least 20% of significant on-screen roles.  It’s important to us that lead actors come from a range of backgrounds, and diverse casting happens front and centre, in the heart of mainstream output.

2. Production

 To provide more opportunities for people with BAME backgrounds to reach senior positions within the production community, all of Sky’s original Entertainment productions will have someone with a BAME background in at least one senior role by the end of 2015.  These senior roles will be producer, series producer, executive producer, director, head of Pproduction and designer.  To meet these targets, we will be working very closely with indies so we can meet these targets on time.

3. Writing

 To promote a greater diversity of voices on-screen, 20% of writers on all team written shows across all Sky Entertainment productions, in production by the end of 2015, will be from BAME backgrounds.

These are enormous commitments but we feel confident that with the help and energy of the UK and Ireland’s incredible creative community, we can achieve this.

People may wonder why we are having a target of 20% when the percentage of the UK population that is BAME currently stands at 14%. It was a simple decision: we feel strongly that we need to rebalance the years of under representation.

BAME networks have told us pretty clearly that they don’t want more training schemes – they want a break, and I hope that’s what we will achieve with this announcement. I want my sons to witness TV output that is sublime, world class, thrilling and representative of the UK and Ireland, and hopefully this is just the start of making that permanent change happen.”

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