Exclusive: Truth Seekers' Susan Wokoma on importance of TV representation

Jo Berry, Susannah Alexander
·3-min read
Photo credit: David M. Benett - Getty Images
Photo credit: David M. Benett - Getty Images

From Digital Spy

Truth Seekers star Susan Wokoma has spoken about just how vital it is to improve representation in the TV industry, explaining that diversity on screen needs to be backed up by diversity behind the camera and among executives.

Speaking exclusively to Digital Spy ahead of the launch of Truth Seekers, the actress said that she believes there is a "confidence that is being built" among female creators as more female-led content makes its way on screen.

But she added that to keep improving representation in TV, both on and off-screen, lasting changes need to be made at all levels.

Photo credit: David M. Benett - Getty Images
Photo credit: David M. Benett - Getty Images

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"I don't know whether it's more women creating [now], I think that women have always created," she said. "I think that seeing is believing. When you watch something like Fleabag and you go 'Wow that really... I feel connected to that' and you watch Insecure and go 'I feel connected to that, maybe I can do it.'

"So there is a confidence that is being built. But my thing has always been yes, visibility is so important, but who are the people who are greenlighting those shows?

"Because that's actually where the change is... is the people going 'Okay, here is this writer, here is this talent, we want to put their show on, we want to make their show, we want to put on their play.'

"If it's the same kinds of people, if it's just like, you know, men always making that decision, I don't feel like the change that we see on the other side of the screen is lasting. So I always look at the people who are working on those shows and go 'Okay, how diverse is it actually?' behind the scenes, because that's where it really, really matters."

Photo credit: Amazon Prime
Photo credit: Amazon Prime

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The actress, who has also starred in Chewing Gum, Year of the Rabbit and Enola Holmes, said that it has "never been in question" as to whether there are "really talented" writers from all sorts of backgrounds and from many different communities, because this has always been the case.

She added that the main question to ask is whether people at commissioning levels "have an interest in ideas and stories that are outside of them".

"There's just something about having different voices at that level," she explained. "I feel like when that is truly diverse, that's when I can be, not comfortable because you never want to be comfortable, but that's when I'll truly believe in visibility.

"Because too many times you see it, there'll be one year where there's lots and lots of diversity and then it goes because everyone's gone, 'Five years ago we commissioned that show, pat on the back'."

Photo credit: Amazon Prime
Photo credit: Amazon Prime

Related: Simon Pegg and Nick Frost horror comedy gets premiere date and new trailer

Wokoma will next be seen as Helen in new Amazon Prime Video series Truth Seekers, which reunites frequent acting partners Simon Pegg and Nick Frost.

Frost plays paranormal investigator Gus who works with his team to catch supernatural occurrences on camera and share them online.

But their quest for the truth begins to uncover a conspiracy that could bring about Armageddon for the entire human race.

Truth Seekers will stream on Amazon Prime Video from October 30.

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