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BBC Studios considering live audits of productions to meet diversity targets

BBC Studios makes Top Gear (BBC)
BBC Studios makes Top Gear (BBC)

BBC Studios is looking at running live audits of its productions to make sure it is meeting diversity targets.

The commercial arm of the BBC, which makes programmes such as Top Gear and Strictly Come Dancing, will cherry pick shows while they are still in production to monitor how inclusive they are.

Miranda Wayland, diversity lead at BBC Studios, told Westminster Insight’s diversity in television forum: “The fact we have a female Doctor Who and everyone got excited amazed me, but also showed we still have so much to do that we get excited about having a female Doctor Who.”

She added: “Retention has to be one of the biggest challenges we face within our sector and the inability to retain diverse talent that we have worked so hard to attract, especially when we said for so long we don’t know where to find them, has to be pretty careless.

Jodie Whittaker attending the Doctor Who premiere
Jodie Whittaker is the first female Doctor (Danny Lawson/PA)

“At the BBC and at studios, retention, culture and accountability is a huge priority, recognising that getting diverse talent into our business is the first step.

“The BBC is taking real action to develop a greater culture of greater inclusion for all… divisions with lower representation need to undergo a review, they are required to devise an action plan stating the steps they will take to make progress.”

She added: “We are working with our genre directors and our productions and looking at running a live audit for productions, so we will cherry pick certain programmes within those genres for a live time audit.

“We will make those people accountable and work with them to find where there are challenges to meeting the targets.

“It is a small shift that should have a long lasting ripple effect, our industry expects better from us and we should expect better from ourselves.”

Nina Bhagwat, off-screen diversity executive at Channel 4, echoed the issue with talent retention, saying: “We are never going to be able to get diversity at a senior level if people are leaving,” adding that the “broken bit of the talent pipeline” is in the middle, between new starters and senior managers.

She said: “I’m not interested in schemes anymore, I’m interested in opportunities.

“Diverse talent don’t need to be trained, they don’t need to be mentored, they need jobs.

“We are running lots of initiatives but not addressing the hiring culture.”

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