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Thursday, 20 March 2014

Ladies and gentlemen, I have a screen

We were at BAFTA’s Television Lecture this week delivered by Lenny Henry CBE. In his important and often entertaining speech, he proposed a pathway to ensuring that more television productions use Black and Asian Minority Ethnic performers and production staff.

With statistics from the latest Creative Skillset report, Lenny made the compelling case for immediate action to tackle the decline in BAME people working in the TV industry. Here are some of the highlights from his lecture:

"Between 2006 and 2012, the number of BAMEs working in the UK TV industry has declined by 30.9%
“Want some more evidence? Here’s another rocket-propelled statistical grenade for you. In the last three years the total number of BAME people in the industry has fallen by 2,000 while the industry as a whole has grown by over 4,000.” 

“Black British Oscar-winning filmmaker Steve McQueen –damn, that sounded good, I’m gonna say that again.”
“The evolution of BAME involvement in British TV seems to lurch one step forward and two steps back - a bit like John Sergeant on Strictly Come Dancing, except he had a job at the end of it.”   
“I have a screen. I have a screen where great programmes are produced by the multi-cultural many, as opposed to the mono-cultural elite.” 

On the BBC’s promise to represent the nations and regions: “The promise was to represent the UK’s nations, regions and communities. The BBC has kept its promise for the nations and regions but what about communities? More precisely, the BAME communities?”
To the audience: “ You have it within your power to effect a radical change upon this appalling situation. Let your greatness blossom, and let’s just see how great our generation can be.”  

Photos: BAFTA/Jonathan Birch

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