BBC shows will monitor the ethnicity and disability of guest contributors

Anita Singh
·2-min read
Tim Davie, the recently appointed director-general of the BBC, speaks to staff at BBC Cardiff in early September.  - News Scans/News Scans
Tim Davie, the recently appointed director-general of the BBC, speaks to staff at BBC Cardiff in early September. - News Scans/News Scans

BBC programme-makers will be asked to monitor the ethnicity and disability of guest contributors, in the broadcaster’s latest drive to increase diversity.

Shows will be invited to log the data in an effort “to include more diverse voices and contributors to better reflect the audiences that the BBC services”.

The scheme for television and radio is voluntary, but programme-makers will be “guided” by the targets set by Tim Davie, the new director-general, of 20 per cent BAME (black, Asian and minority ethnic) representation and 12 per cent disability representation.

Targets will be adjusted by region, according to audience demographics, meaning that figures for London could be higher.

The scheme is based on the existing 50:50 project, which invited shows to log how many women appeared as guests. As a result, shows that achieved gender parity included BBC Breakfast, The Andrew Marr Show, News at Six, The One Show, Songs of Praise, and Sports Personality of the Year.

Mr Davie said the scheme was intended to bring about “positive change”.

“It’s absolutely vital the BBC reflects the public it serves. The ground-breaking 50:50 Project has had a powerful impact over the last three years. I think it has the potential to achieve even more and to find new voices for our content.

“This is not just a challenge for the BBC, but for all media organisations,” he said.

See below for the highlights of a September 2019 report into the BBC employee composition: 

Ofcom report | BBC too 'middle-class, white and London centric'
Ofcom report | BBC too 'middle-class, white and London centric'

Nina Goswami, the BBC’s creative diversity lead, said: “By applying 50:50’s core principles for disability and ethnicity representations we believe we can amplify a wider range of voices and discover more content that reflects our world. We’ve a long way to go but together it is achievable.”

Pilots have been taking place, with more than 60 BBC teams taking part.

In a BBC audience survey about the 50:50 project, 40 per cent of 16-34-year-olds said they derived greater enjoyment from BBC content as a result of seeing and hearing from more women.

The figure dropped to 27 per cent among 35-54-year-olds, and 18 per cent for those aged 55 and above.