BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: Entertainment
Front Page 
UK Politics 
TV and Radio 
New Media 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

The BBC's Geeta Guru-Murthy
"The question is will they actually deliver"
 real 56k

Thursday, 12 October, 2000, 11:46 GMT 12:46 UK
TV adopts ethnic plan
EastEnders: Soaps will be included in the plans
Plans to improve the representation of people from ethnic minorities on TV have been announced by UK broadcasters.

The Cultural Diversity Network (CDN) - made up of BBC, ITV, Carlton Television, Granada Media, GMTV, ITN, Channel 4, Channel 5 and BskyB - launched its first manifesto on Thursday.

This country is facing a demographic revolution which means that this industry has to get its act together

Clive Jones
The manifesto outlines plans for employment targets behind the camera, an online talent database and improved casting and portrayal.

Many companies will also bolster their bursary schemes to encourage black and Asian students into media careers.

CDN's first chairman, Carlton TV's chief executive Clive Jones, said the rising ethnic minority population in Britain meant industry changes were commercially as well as culturally necessary.

"This country is facing a demographic revolution which means that this industry has to get its act together and its business in order," he said.

"Either we adapt or change what we do or what we do will become increasingly irrelevant for a vital part of the audience," he added.

Culture Secretary Chris Smith said television today too often failed to reflect the realities of Britain's diverse society.

"This initiative is not about political correctness, but about the plain realities of life," he told the launch audience.

BBC Director General Greg Dyke said he warmly welcomed and supported the initiative.

"We recognise our responsibility as the biggest employer in the UK media industry and the country's most important cultural institution," he said.

The BBC's Goodness Gracious Me
The BBC's Goodness Gracious Me is a ratings success
"As a public service broadcaster the BBC is committed to providing programmes and services that are valued by everyone."

ITV's director of programming, David Liddiment, said cultural diversity would be a component in his organisation's commissioning process.

Asian and black audiences are feared to be deserting terrestrial televison in greater numbers than white viewers.

This is a problem for both commercial broadcasters and the BBC.

Commercial channels are under pressure from advertisers, while the BBC is keen to appeal to all sectors of its audience.

The BBC forecasts that, by next year, ethnic minorities will make up 30% of the population in London and 12% in Birmingham.

They contribute 23bn a year to the British economy.

Industry regulators are to monitor the broadcasters, as will the Department of Culture, Media and Sport.

The Conservatives are broadly supportive of the moves.

But the industry may be concerned about provoking a backlash, says community affairs correspondent Geeta Guru-Murthy.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
See also:

11 Oct 00 | UK
What is Britishness?
23 Aug 00 | UK Politics
Row over UK 'racism'
25 Aug 00 | UK
The BBC's challenges
12 Dec 98 | Entertainment
The Street in black and white
11 Oct 00 | Talking Point
Is Britain a nation?
Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Entertainment stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Entertainment stories