BBC to prioritise £100 million for ‘diverse and inclusive content’

The BBC will set aside £100 million for “diverse and inclusive content” as part of its response to the killing of George Floyd.

The sum, from its existing commissioning budget, will be spent on TV output across all areas, including children’s, education and current affairs, for three years from 2021/22.

It will also be compulsory for 20% of the crew, the figure is not for on-screen talent, in BBC shows to be from diverse backgrounds.

Director of creative diversity June Sarpong said the 'commitment will help to drive real change'
Director of creative diversity June Sarpong said the ‘commitment will help to drive real change’ (Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA)

BBC director-general Tony Hall, said: “The senseless killing of George Floyd, and what it tells us about the stain of systemic racism, has had a profound impact on all of us.

“It’s made us question ourselves about what more we can do to help tackle racism – and drive inclusion within our organisation and in society as a whole.

“This is our response, it’s going to drive change in what we make and who makes it. 

“It’s a big leap forward – and we’ll have more to announce in the coming weeks.”

BBC director-general Tony Hall
BBC director-general Tony Hall (Justin Tallis/PA)

Some 20% of the crew in all new network commissions must be from diverse backgrounds from April 2021.

The BBC’s director of creative diversity June Sarpong said the “commitment will help to drive real change that will be felt by all audiences”.

She said the fund was the “first of a series of bold steps that will help make the BBC an instrument of real change.

“As a black woman, I feel and share in the pain that so many are feeling worldwide.

“It makes it all the more important that we show up now not just with words but with meaningful action.”

Director Sir Steve McQueen previously told Charlotte Moore that the BBC was not doing enough
Director Sir Steve McQueen previously told Charlotte Moore that the BBC was not doing enough (Matt Crossick/PA)

The BBC’s director of content Charlotte Moore said she had been challenged for not doing enough by artist and filmmaker Sir Steve McQueen.

“When I met Steve McQueen last year during the making of Small Axe, he challenged me and the BBC to set meaningful targets and take proper action. He was right,” she said.

“Today’s announcement represents a truly transformational commitment to both on and off screen representation. 

“Concrete, tangible action is the only way we can bring about real sustainable change.”

Filmmaker Sir Steve recently told The Observer newspaper: “I made three films in the States and it seems like nothing has really changed in the interim in Britain.

“The UK is so far behind in terms of representation, it’s shameful.”

The death of Floyd, a handcuffed black man who died after pleading for air as a white police officer knelt on his neck, has sparked Black Lives Matter protests around the world.

The BBC said it will set out more plans in other production areas in the coming weeks.

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