News UK

Lottery fund backs 24-hour black history channel

A PIONEERING project to document black and Asian history on a 24-hour online TV station has received a £77,400 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

Croydon-based charity Black Minority Ethnic Television Film and Media (BMETVFM) was awarded the grant to launch Our Heritage TV.

The brainchild of BMETVFM’s president, Ewemade Orobator, the channel will use films, documents and even games to tell the story of black and Asian pioneers who made contributions to civil rights, education, entertainment, government, science and sports in the UK between 1950 and 2010.

Our Heritage TV is being supported by the Black Cultural Archives (BCA), which will help train members of the public to create their own online ‘exhibitions’ from any period of history for broadcast on the channel.

The project will begin during Black History Month in October and aims to have least 1,000 items of heritage available to view and interact with by October 2015.

Other organisations supporting the project include London Archives Centre, BBC History, the Black and Asian Studies Association, Google Cultural Institute and Audioboo.

Orobator said he hoped the channel, which will also be accessible through a mobile phone app, will become a key educational tool.

He added: “Black history has been betrayed over the years – either underrepresented, misrepresented or not represented at all.

“Our history is not being properly taught in schools and then only in October, and the contributions that black people have made to this country have always been unreported or distorted.”

The project, Orobator added, will create a “24-hour resource that the community has built up and that they can access and will highlight the proud contributions that blacks and Asians have made to this country.”

Sue Bowers, head of Heritage Lottery Fund London, said: “This project will help to gather, record and broadcast a wide range of information covering black and Asian contributions to living in Britain over the past 60 years.”

Orobator added: “The Heritage Lottery Fund by backing Our Heritage TV has made a statement that it values the contribution that black and ethnic minority people have made to the great story of the United Kingdom.

“Our project allows us to share a snapshot of at times difficult but deep and enriching contribution (1950-2010) on a national and global stage. We look forward to the massive contribution ordinary people across London will play in building and sharing this heritage.”

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Sky TV Unveils New Targets to Improve BAME on Screen Representation

Sky today announces stretching new targets to improve the representation of black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) people across its entertainment channels. The targets are designed to ensure that programmes on Sky 1, Sky Atlantic, Sky Living and Sky Arts better reflect the diversity of Sky’s 10.7 million TV customers in Britain and Ireland.
In addition, as the fastest-growing source of investment in original British programming, Sky wants to play a leading role in making the television industry more accessible to talented people from all backgrounds.
Sky’s new targets address the diversity of talent both on screen and behind the camera. To drive real and sustainable change, Sky will work closely with companies from the independent production sector to seek out and nurture new talent.
By the end of 2015, Sky aims to achieve the following targets for the new programmes it commissions for its entertainment channels.

On Screen Portrayal

All brand new, non-returning shows on Sky entertainment channels will have people from BAME backgrounds in at least 20% of significant on-screen roles. This commitment covers all genres of programmes, including drama, comedy, entertainment and factual.


All of Sky’s original programmes will have someone with a BAME background in at least one senior production role. This is aimed at providing more opportunities for people with BAME backgrounds to reach senior positions within the production community.


20% of writers* on all shows will be from BAME backgrounds in order to promote a greater diversity of voices in Sky programmes and scripts.


Sky will also be offering a 12 month placement within our commissioning team as part of the Creative Diversity Network’s Commissioning Leadership Programme.

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. It’s an incredibly exciting time, and I am very proud that Sky is going to be at the forefront.”

Sky will continue to work closely with the CDN, which recently also unveiled its cross broadcaster plans.

Sky is the UK and Ireland’s leading home entertainment and communications company. Around 40% of all homes have a direct relationship with Sky through its range of TV, broadband and home telephony services.


Letter to BBC and other broadcasters: actors and writers call for action over diversity

Text of letter sent to: BBC director general Tony Hall, ITV chief executive Adam Crozier, Channel 4 chief executive David Abraham, BSkyB chief executive Jeremy Darroch and Philippe Dauman, chief executive of new Channel 5 owner Viacom

We the undersigned are writing you this open letter because together you are responsible for the most powerful broadcasting institutions in Britain and are therefore in a unique position to shape and form the future of British television.

We are dismayed at the poor numbers of Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) people both on our screens and working behind the camera

Today, only 5% of employees in our creative industries are BAME, despite BAME’s making up 12.5% of the total UK population.

In order to redress this imbalance, we believe that the training, mentoring and development schemes recently announced, although welcome, are not sufficiently radical to effect significant change.

We propose, therefore a solution that would almost immediately stimulate growth throughout the BAME creative community: a ring–fenced pot of money for BAME programmes.

The effect of this fund would be to engender and encourage television that would reflect one of Britain’s greatest strengths; our diversity.

Let us be clear about how this ring-fenced money would work. It is about quality of programming, not quantity: money is only spent when quality projects are identified – not to fill a quota. The major broadcasters have already set targets for the number of programmes produced outside London, and in the nations.

To increase ethnic diversity we are asking you to look at what has worked before and extend it for BAME communities. Ring-fencing money would not only guarantee results, but also create a more stable space for BAME talent on screen and behind the camera.

Signatories (to date)

Troy Titus Adams

Simon Albury

Kenton Allen

Kwame Kwei-Armah OBE

Amma Asante

Marianne Jean-Baptiste

Sanjeev Bhaskar OBE

Juliet Blake

Alan Bleasdale

Gurinder Chadha OBE

Lolita Chakrabarti

Act for Change

Chris Chibnall

Ron Cook

Dominic Cooke CBE

Daniel Craig

Allan Cubitt

Richard Curtis CBE

Stephen Daldry CBE

Russell T Davies OBE

Gregory Doran

Nadine Marsh Edwards

Jennifer Ehle

Idris Elba

Marianne Elliott

Barbara Emile

Daniel Evans

Sir Richard Eyre CBE

Julian Fellowes

Dexter Fletcher

Aminatta Forna

Michael Foster

Neil Gaiman

Lucy Gannon

Rupert Goold

Tony Grisoni

Charlie Hanson

David Harewood MBE

Lenny Henry CBE

Harry Hill

Sally Long-Innes

Terry Jones

Asif Kapadia

Kanya King

Sarah Lam

Baroness Doreen Lawrence

Adrian Lester OBE

Phyllida Lloyd CBE

Matt Lucas

Lisa Makin

Tony Marchant

Simon McBurney OBE

Jimmy McGovern

Jed Mercurio

Courttia Newland

Bill Nighy

Rufus Norris

David Oyelowo

Ashley Pharoah

Lynda La Plante CBE

Stephen Poliakoff CBE

Lucy Prebble

Hugh Quarshie

Beverley Randall

Ian Rickson

Alrick Riley

Kristin Scott Thomas

Geoff Small

Elaine C Smith

Lord Alan Sugar

Meera Syal MBE

Emma Thompson

David Tse

Indira Varma

Sally Wainwright

Matthew Warchus

Emily Watson

Richard Wilson OBE

Benedict Wong

David Yip

Pat Younge

Opportunities/Jobs Training/Workshops

Apply for Expert Voices: BAME Talent Days

Do you want to share your expertise and knowledge by appearing on television and radio? Are you from a Black, Asian or minority ethnic background?

The BBC Academy is holding a series of free introductions to the world of broadcasting to help BAME men and women feel comfortable appearing on television, radio and online as expert contributors or presenters.

These events will help boost the diversity of experts in the media and follow the acclaimed Expert Women campaign which ran in 2013.

We are running five days across the country. The first will take place in London on 9 October and details of how to apply are below.

The days will offer a range of practical media experiences, including sessions on camera and in a radio studio as well as master classes and networking with experienced programme makers and industry leaders.


Event: Expert Voices: BAME Talent Day London

Location:  BBC New Broadcasting House, Portland Place, London W1A 1AA

Date: Thursday 9 October 2014


What we are looking for: specialist areas
If you have recognised expertise in one of the key subject areas listed below and are interested in appearing in the media and live or work close to London, we want to hear from you. If you don’t live nearby or have expertise in a different area, take a look at our future sessions which are taking place around the UK.

Cultural Commentary – is your expertise in popular entertainment, the arts, literature or areas like social policy or national identity? 

History – the Tudors, the First World War, the ancient world or modern Britain, which period are you passionate about? Are you an academic, custodian, auctioneer or museum curator?  

Science – do you have expertise in a subject – from forensics to biology – recognised in the academic, research or commercial world?

Health and medicine – are you medically qualified?

Finance and statistics – can you communicate about numbers, from personal finance to big business?

Food and nutrition – are you a chef, cook or expert on farming and food production?


How to apply
You will need to send us your CV and a short film of no more than two minutes duration. The film should be very straightforward – and can be as simple as a friend recording you on a smartphone.

The film should consist of you talking to camera:

a)     Give your name and job title at the start, explain your job in layman’s terms and talk briefly about what you do.

b)     Relate a story, within your area of expertise, that you want to tell and think the general public would find interesting.

The film should be uploaded to YouTube or Vimeo or similar so that we can view it.


Making your short film

1. We are looking for people who can really bring their subject to life in a way that would appeal to a broad audience.

2. Keep a mainstream audience in mind and avoid complicated terminology.

3. Convey your enthusiasm and passion for your subject.

4. Don’t worry about producing a super slick film; smartphone quality is ideal. Just keep it simple – we aren’t evaluating your camera skills. The most important thing is that we can see and hear you clearly.


Closing date 
The closing date for applications is 11.59pm on Sunday 31 August 2014.

Please only apply if you are able to be in BBC New Broadcasting House, Portland Place, London W1A 1AA on Thursday 9 October 2014. 

Please note that the BBC is unable to refund any expenses incurred in applying for, or attending, the training day.


So we can see your film
A straightforward way to get your clip to us is to set up a YouTube account, and upload your short film there. You will need a Gmail email account in order to set up a YouTube account. (Please note that YouTube and Gmail are separate third parties that are not affiliated to the BBC.  You will therefore be subject to their third party terms and conditions.)

Once you have set your YouTube account up, please check your settings. You must change your YouTube default setting from private to ‘unlisted’.

The privacy settings on your entry videos must be set as ‘unlisted’ in order for us to view your films.

Please could you name your clip in the following format:

Firstname surname expertise 

If you choose not to upload your film to YouTube you will need to burn it onto a CD or DVD and post it to Expert Voices, BBC Academy, College of Production, BC2C1, Broadcast Centre, 201 Wood Lane, London W12 7TS. Your parcel will need to arrive at the BBC by Monday 25 August.  We will not be able to return any CDs or other materials to you.


Application Checklist
Please send an email containing the following:

1. Personal details

a)     Name

b)     Category (Cultural Commentary, History, Science, Health and Medicine, Finance and Statistics or Food and Nutrition)

c)     Mobile phone number

d)     Email address

e)     Job title – in layman’s terms, clarify what your job involves

f)      Details of your ethnic group (please identify yourself against the Office for National Statistics categories listed on the ONS website).


2.  A link to a film of you talking to camera about you, your area of expertise and a story/issue that you feel needs to be told.


3.  One written paragraph explaining the story/issue you have chosen to talk about. Why does this story need airtime? Why you are passionate about it? (250 words max.)


4.  Your CV as an attachment. Please name your CV file in the following format: First name surname CV


5.  The following paragraph, deleted as applicable (see Privacy Policy, below)

do  / don’t give my permission to be informed if the BBC Academy holds further masterclasses.

do  / don’t give the BBC Academy my permission to share my details with other producers or broadcasters.

do  / don’t give my permission to the BBC Academy to include my video in an Expert Voices YouTube channel and playlist.


6.  The name and contact details for someone from whom we can take a reference for you.


All to be emailed to:


How we will choose the delegates for this event
A panel of experts from the BBC Academy and the wider BBC will view all the material submitted and will select up to 30 delegates, plus up-to five for a waiting-list, based on the following criteria:

  • Passion for your chosen subject
  • Communication skills
  • USP as an expert in your field
  • Your potential as on screen/on mic talent
  • Relevance and audience awareness

The judges’ decision will be final and we will not be able to give you individual feedback or enter into any correspondence. We will take up references before confirming the final delegates and the people on the waiting list.


Privacy Policy (see application checklist)

  • We would like to add you to our mailing list so that we could contact you about future BBC events. Please indicate whether you agree or disagree to this in your application.
  • We will also make your contact details and your clip available to producers across the industry who may contact you. Please indicate whether you agree or disagree to this in your application.
  • We plan to include clips on a BBC Expert Voices YouTube Channel. Please indicate whether you agree or disagree to this in your application.

We will store your information for 12 months, after which it will be securely deleted from our systems.



Further events

We are also holding Expert Voices events in Birmingham, Salford, Glasgow and Bristol. If you live and work near these locations and have expertise in the subject areas required, we’d love to hear from you.


BIRMINGHAM: Thursday 27 November 2014

The subject areas will be:

Health and medicine – are you medically qualified?

Rural affairs – do you have specialist knowledge of farming and food production?

Science – do you have expertise in a subject – from forensics to biology – recognised in the academic, research or commercial world?

Business and economics – can you demystify the world of business, from global finance to kitchen table start-ups?

Consumer finance – can you talk knowledgeably about everything from mortgages to pay day lenders?

Community matters – is your expertise in social policy, local education or family and religious affairs?

We will open for applications on 1 September 2014. If you would like to express your interest in this event before then, please email and we will remind you when you’re able to apply.


BRISTOL:  Thursday 29 January 2015

The subject areas will be:

Antiques / fine art – do you know your Ming from your Meissen? Do you collect, buy or sell desirable decorative items or advise other collectors?

Gardening and horticulture – are you a garden designer, a landscaper or a botanist? Are you passionate about shaping and beautifying the natural world?

Rural affairs – do you have specialist knowledge of farming, food production or rural issues?

Conservation and environment – are you an expert on alternative forms of power or preserving the natural world?

Natural history – are you a zoologist, anthropologist, geologist or biologist? Can you communicate about animal or human behaviours or the physical forces which formed the world?

Food – are you a chef or cook? Can you prepare delicious food or talk about what we eat?

Applications will open on 26 October 2014. If you would like to express your interest in this event please email and we will remind you when you’re able to apply.


SALFORDThursday 26 February 2015

The subject areas will be:

History – the Tudors, the First World War, the ancient world or modern Britain, which periods are you passionate about? Are you an academic, custodian, auctioneer or museum curator?

Science / health – are you medically qualified?

Sport – do you coach, play or comment on football, athletics or other sport?

Business and economics– can you demystify the world of business, from global finance to kitchen table start-ups?

Consumer finance – can you talk knowledgeably about everything from mortgages to pay day lenders?

Art – is your expertise in the visual arts, popular entertainment or literature?

We will open for applications on 1 December 2014. If you would like to express your interest in this date please email and we will remind you once applications can be accepted.


GLASGOW: Thursday 12 March 2015

The subject areas will be:

Arts – is your expertise in the visual arts, popular entertainment or literature?

Medicine – are you medically qualified?

Science – do you have expertise in a subject – from forensics to biology – recognised in the academic, research or commercial world?

Community affairs – can you talk knowledgeably about local government, education or social policy?

Law and justice – do you have a legal qualification and can you communicate clearly about legal affairs?

Children’s broadcasting – are you a specialist in history, science, coding, zoology, agriculture or medicine and can you communicate these subjects to a young audience?

Applications open on 5 January 2015. If you would like to express your interest in this date please email and we will remind you once applications can be accepted.

News Radio Television UK

BBC pushes for diversity on air

The BBC has announced plans for greater black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) representation on and off air.

“The BBC should be giving talented people a chance wherever they come from,” said director general Tony Hall.

The BBC will put £2.1m into a fund intended to help BAME talent, on and off screen, to develop new programmes.

BBC targets call for around one in six people (15%) on-air to be from BAME backgrounds within three years – an increase of nearly 5%.

The 15% target would be across all BBC television output including news, drama, comedy and documentaries.

Lord Hall said BBC News had set local targets in London, Birmingham, Manchester and Leicester to reflect the population.

‘All backgrounds’

“I want a new talent-led approach that will help set the pace in the media industry,” said Lord Hall, who was speaking to members of Creative Access at the BBC’s Elstree Studios.

“The only reason we’re here is to make great programmes that people of all backgrounds think are important… and for that we need to employ people that have got ideas,” he added.

Simon Albury, chair of the Campaign for Broadcasting Equality, welcomed the BBC announcement, calling it “a huge step forward”.

“The BBC has announced a very substantial package of initiatives, which will drive significant and welcome improvement in BAME representation at all levels,” he said.

However, he expressed disappointment with the Diversity Creative Talent Fund of £2.1m, saying it was a fraction of the BBC content budget “of £1,789.1m”.

Friday’s announcement also included a series of targets for staff representation off-air, to be achieved by 2017.

The BBC said it would launch an Assistant Commissioner Development Programme to train six Commissioners of the Future to work in comedy, drama, factual, daytime and children’s programming.

It will include a 12-month paid internship, aimed at bringing in young people from diverse backgrounds.

But Lord Hall told reporters: “We’re not guaranteeing a job at the end of it.

“I’m certain they will get a job either at the BBC or elsewhere – but what I’m saying is we want to make a difference here to finding great talent and backing them.

“I’ve seen it work in the arts. If it doesn’t then we’ll look for other things.”

Incorporated into the 2017 targets is also a new senior leadership development programme providing six people from BAME backgrounds with experience working at the top level of the BBC – including a placement with Lord Hall himself.

“It’s going to be very competitive – it’ll be open to people inside and outside the BBC and we’re hoping to have a broad range of people,” he said.

The BBC said it hopes BAME representation at a senior level will almost double over six years, increasing from the current 8.3% to 15% by 2020.

The corporation will also take on 20 graduate trainees from BAME backgrounds, as part of its work with the Creative Access Programme – a charitable organisation which seeks to improve the representation of the ethnic minorities in the media.


The BBC is also bringing together a group of experts, including Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, comedian Lenny Henry, Asian Network presenter Nihal and Lady Benjamin to form an Independent Diversity Action Group, chaired by Lord Hall.

“I think the group will be tough-minded,” said Lord Hall. “But it’s good to have people who are there to support you, but also say you can do better here.”

Delivering a lecture to Bafta in March, Lenny Henry said funds should be set aside to boost the presence of BAME people in the broadcasting industry.

He put the presence of those from BAME backgrounds in the creative industry at 5.4%.

He described this as “an appalling percentage because the majority of our industry is based around London where the black and Asian population is 40%.”

He added that the situation behind the camera was also “patchy”.


BBC plans to cut radio’s only full-time black specialist


THE BBC has come under fire for under-serving black audiences as it prepares to carry out further cuts to its local radio diversity team. An inside source within the public broadcaster revealed to The Voice that the only full-time specialist journalist employed to focus on local radio programming for African and Caribbean communities will be cut from its news hub, BBC UK Black.


The online hub is a specialist multimedia page on the BBC’s website that focuses on news and features affecting black communities in regions such as Northampton, Nottingham, Bedfordshire and London.


The BBC’s community affairs unit – the department feeding into BBC UK Black programmes – used to include 12 specialist journalists up until 1997 when it was cut to just one single role.


Now, one full-time editor and one full-time journalist will be responsible for the BBC’s local radio programming for all Asian, African and Caribbean content across 14 UK regions as of March.


A BBC spokeswoman confirmed the changes.


She said: “From the end of March 2014 there will be a change to the structure of the diversity team at BBC English Regions headquarters. We will therefore maintain a total of two equivalent full time roles in this area of English Regions’ programming and one broadcast journalist post will close.”


The source explained that the two roles that will be retained include one specialist South Asian journalist and the editor of the diversity team, who doesn’t directly feed material into programmes.


“This just demonstrates how little the BBC understands about ethnic communities,” the source who did not wish to be identified told The Voice.




“You can’t assume an Asian journalist is going to know everything about the black community, and vice versa. Black British news is a specialism in its own right.”


In January, BBC bosses chose to scrap BBC UK Black’s weekly podcast, which features highlights of the week’s best shows.

However, the BBC’s recently-appointed director of news and current affairs, James Harding, told staff in a briefing that he was determined to address diversity on and off the air.


During the brief, which was Harding’s first statement of intent since taking up the role in August 2013, he also said the BBC had started to make positive steps in broadening diversity on air, but that there was more to be done.


Harding said: “We’ve got to be clear we’ve got a problem. We’ve got an on-air issue. I personally think we’ve got an even bigger one off-air.”


But the source contended that despite Harding’s statement the BBC was not concerned about diversity at all.


“There’s all this talk about diversity but actually when you look at what’s happening, you can see the BBC just don’t care in the slightest.


“Where will young, up-and-coming black journalists go? It’s just a kick in the teeth,” the source said in frustration.
Samantha Asumadu, via her organisation Media Diversified, is actively campaigning to get more journalists of colour published in national newspapers and magazines as well as heard on broadcast media outlets.


Asumadu said: “The media in any country should be a reflection of its society.”




Politician and MP for Hackney and Stoke Newington, Diane Abbott, in speaking about diversity in the media in an interview with The Voice, said the media industry has not changed since she worked for ITV more than two decades ago.


“I think it’s very sad that TV and radio is no more diverse than it was 25 years ago,” she added. “When it comes to behind the cameras, there is not any change at all.”

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