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Channel 4 announces line-up for its inclusion festival

The Jeremy Kyle Show (Lewis Whyld/PA)
The Jeremy Kyle Show (Lewis Whyld/PA)

Spice Girl star Melanie Brown and poet Lemn Sissay will take part in Channel 4’s Inclusion Festival.

The event, on Thursday, will bring together talent from across the UK television industry including senior figures from fellow broadcasters including ITV and the BBC.

Channel 4 said the festival will explore the challenges facing the sector as well as people’s experiences of exclusion and the changes required to make television more accessible to under-represented groups.

Melanie Brown interview
Melanie Brown (Matt Crossick/PA)

Poet, author and broadcaster Sissay will deliver the keynote speech which will include “a moving insight into his life, experiences and thoughts on inclusion”.

Brown, meanwhile, will take part in a discussion with presenter Steph McGovern about the things the broadcasting sector could learn from the music world.

She said: “Music is slightly different because black musicians, black artists, people of colour are very respected.

“And they have been since way back since from Motown days, from Aretha Franklin, it’s more of an accepting environment.”

A panel chaired by TV presenter and Paralympian Ade Adepitan will look at the lessons learned from the Paralympic Games and how the industry can achieve inclusivity for disabled talent.

Queen’s Birthday Honours List 2021
Lemn Sissay (Anthony Devlin/PA)

The festival will also include interviews with Channel 4 chief executive Alex Mahon, ITV chief executive Dame Carolyn McCall, president of Viacom CBS Networks in the UK and Australia Maria Kyriacou and BBC director-general Tim Davie.

Channel 4’s chief content officer Ian Katz said: “Channel 4’ s transformative coverage of the Paralympics has shown how television has the power to bring about societal change and shift public perceptions around disability, and this year’s Black to Front project represents a major step forward for Black representation in front of and behind the camera.

“The onus is on us, senior leaders within the industry, to deliver systemic change so broadcasting can become genuinely inclusive and representative of all the audiences we serve.”

The festival starts at 10am on Thursday November 18. Viewers can register online.

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