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BBC launches commitments for disabled people

BBC launches commitments for disabled people

The BBC has launched a new set of commitments which will see the broadcaster represent a wider number of disabled people in front and behind of the camera as well as improving access to future productions.

This weekend BBC iPlayer launches Count Us In, a series of programmes celebrating the talents of people with disabilities to coincide with the United Nations International Day of Disabled Persons on December 3

The BBC’s commitments state:

  • The BBC is committed to improving the representation of deaf, disabled and neurodivergent people on screen, with a focus on the quality and quantity of representation. We believe the portrayal of disabled people must be authentic, inclusive and reach across all our programmes and recognise that disability can be apparent or non-apparent. 
  • We know there are barriers to access within the broadcasting industry for those working off screen. We commit to improving opportunities and accessibility across our productions so that no one is ever excluded.

The BBC went on to say: ‘The new commitments mean that within scripted programmes we will look to include authentic and meaningful representation of disability in all new commissions. We will endeavour to cast those with lived experience of disability for disabled roles – as well as seeking disabled actors for roles not specifically written to be disabled.

And within unscripted programmes portrayal of disability will include landmark and incidental portrayal. We will endeavour to include at least one contributor, presenter or performer with a disability per series and in one-off programmes.’

The initiative builds on the launch of The TV Access Project (TAP), created by the BBC, Channel 4, Britbox International, Disney+ UK, ITV, Paramount, Prime Video, Sky and UKTV, in August this year.

Joanna Abeyie, BBC Head of Creative Diversity, said: “The BBC is committed to building an accessible and welcoming culture for disabled talent, both on and off screen, as part of our plans to ensure we truly reflect disabled audiences. There is more to do across the whole industry and I’m excited to see how these new access commitments remove barriers and create better workplaces that make the TV industry more accessible to all who want to be a part of it.”

Charlotte Moore, BBC Chief Content Officer, said: ‘It is vital that we continue to improve access to meaningfully increase the representation of disabled people on and off screen across the whole industry. These new BBC access commitments will drive authentic and inclusive portrayal even further across our content and ensure that the very best disabled talent feel heard and valued.”

The BBC is also launching Access First Titles, a new scheme which will see programmes work alongside the BBC’s Creative Diversity Team and Access Co-ordinators bringing a team of disabled talent onto their production teams to provide more opportunities for talented individuals living with a disability.

The first titles will be Silent Witness and The Apprentice, both will go into production early next year.

The United Nations International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) is on Saturday 3 December. The theme is “Transformative solutions for inclusive development: the role of innovation in fuelling an accessible and equitable world”.

For more information visit on the International Day of Persons with Disabilities visit the official website.

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