Right wing comedian hits back at Guardian diversity claims over BBC ‘inclusion’ watchdog

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Comedian Geoff Norcott has been added to a BBC diversity panel
Comedian Geoff Norcott has been added to a BBC diversity panel

A ‘right-leaning’ comedian has hit out at an article that appeared to take a swipe at his appointment to a group to monitor diversity at the BBC.

Geoff Norcott, a Tory voter and Brexit supporter, has been included on the Diversity And Inclusion Advisory Group that will challenge the corporation over representation in the general workforce and on-screen.

The group is intended to advise the BBC on fulfilling its purpose to represent the nations, regions and communities of the UK.

However, Mr Norcott, 42, took issue with a Guardian article on the news, which described the comedian as “a Conservative-voting white male” who “has the task of ensuring the broadcaster is representative of modern Britain”.

Tweeting a link to the story, Mr Norcott - who has appeared on BBC comedy show Live at the Apollo as well as Question Time - wrote: “The Guardian have been seriously mischievous with this.

“I was asked - on a voluntary basis - to say a few words on a panel about working class representation at the BBC.

“Nothing about politics. Nothing about Brexit. Everyone relax.”

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Mr Norcott added that he felt “the scale of misrepresentation was on a different level”.

The Diversity And Inclusion Advisory Group will challenge the corporation over representation in the general workforce and on-screen.

In March, the BBC billed itself as "more diverse than ever" and was hitting its BAME diversity targets.

The group is intended to advise the BBC on fulfilling its purpose to represent the nations, regions and communities of the UK.

It includes also included co-founder of the Glasgow Women's Library Adele Patrick, The Student View's Solomon Elliott and former BBC executive Tanya Motie.

It will also include three internal BBC staff as members and Director-general Lord Tony Hall will regularly attend meetings of the group, which has been set up with the initial intention of running for two years.

The group is intended to advise the BBC on fulfilling its purpose to represent the nations, regions and communities of the UK (Geograph)
The group is intended to advise the BBC on fulfilling its purpose to represent the nations, regions and communities of the UK (Geograph)

Lord Hall said: "The BBC must represent the widest range of stories, faces and voices on screen, on air and behind the camera.

"The combined knowledge, experience and skills of our new Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Group will provide a fresh perspective on our ambitions.”

In a March announcement the BBC revealed it was meeting its 2020 diversity targets for disabled, LGBTQ+ and BAME staff. Figures revealed the broadcaster now has the highest proportion of black, Asian and minority ethnic staff in its history.

The corporation said that more needed to be done to increase diversity in leadership roles. The BBC has said greater representation will lead to greater creativity.

Yahoo News UK has reached out to Mr Norcott for a comment.

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