On International Day of Persons with Disabilities, leading broadcasting BBC has launched their new commitment to boost disability representation for 2020 on and off screen in a three-part plan.
Dedicating to significantly improving representation – and opportunities for – disabled people on and off air, the BBC today (3 December) is creating chances for disabled people to work on some of the BBC’s biggest programmes.
Similarly, the BBC is committing to help disabled staff move around and up the BBC more easily.
Alison Kirkham, Controller Factual Commissioning, says: “We want to set the bar forever higher, for the entire industry, both with off-screen talent and on-screen representation. In the past the industry hasn’t always done enough to offer opportunities for disabled people and so has missed out on their talent.”
Within the three-part plan, the BBC will be launching BBC Elevate, which is set to provide disabled people with industry experience and the chance to work and gain further experience on flagship BBC Shows including The Apprentice, Eastenders, Call the Midwife, and The One Show, to name a few.
Crucially, BBC Elevate will be talent-led, tailored to respond to the specific needs of individual disabled people who already have some experience in the industry. The aim is to unlock any barriers to progression and ensure off-screen disabled talent are reaching their full potential.
Alison continues: “With the launch of BBC Elevate we want to ensure the BBC leads the way in enabling disabled people in TV to progress.
“By working with some of the UK’s biggest shows we are giving applicants a chance to develop their careers and enabling our flagship brands to benefit from their experience and talent.
“I hope that the legacy of this initiative is sustained, enduring change which creates a greater pool of disabled people working across the industry complemented by a richer portrayal of the lives and stories of disabled people on screen.”
Alongside BBC Elevate, the organisation is set to permanently shift the dial on what audiences can expect in terms of authentic and distinctive disabled representation on-screen with a range of new programmes as well as enhanced portrayal in existing programmes and core brands.
For disabled staff currently working within the BBC, a new BBC passport will also be implemented to record the needs of disabled staff to ensure they get the right support and can move smoothly between different jobs.