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Sky unveils plans to increase diversity

DIVERSITY COMMITMENT: TV presenter Jacqueline Shepherd recently hosted a Sky 1 show

BROADCASTER SKY has unveiled a raft of new measures to improve the representation of black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) people across its entertainment channels with the exception of Sky News.

The targets aim to ensure that channels such as Sky 1, Sky Atlantic, Sky Living and Sky Arts better reflect the UK population on screen and behind the camera by the end of 2015.

Among the plans is a minimum quota of 20 per cent of BAME talent in significant on-screen roles across drama, comedy, entertainment and factual programming.

All original programmes will have someone from a BAME background in at least one senior production role to help with promotion and retention of staff and 20 per cent of all writers will be from BAME backgrounds.

Stuart Murphy, Sky’s director of entertainment said: “Sky is dedicated to making programmes that feel representative of every one of the millions of viewers that watch our content every day, whatever their colour.

“So we have tackled the issue with the same sense of ambition that we show in all other areas of our business, setting ourselves a set of tangible goals that will hold us to account. Our aim is to kick-start a sea change in the on screen representation of ethnic minorities on British television.”

The Sky proposals follow a similar announcement from the BBC last month on its plans to tackle the media industry’s diversity challenges.

But Sky’s 20 per cent target goes further than the BBC’s 15 per cent benchmark over a three-year period.

The BFI Film Fund has also vowed to roll out a new system, starting next month, under which filmmakers must ‘tick’ at least two of three criteria: on-screen diversity, off-screen diversity and “creating opportunities and social mobility” in order to access grants.

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