Survey finds 1 per cent of UK TV shows have a BAME director

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19th November 2015 17:15 - Media and PR

A recent survey by industry body, Directors UK, has revealed that only 1.5 per cent of UK TV programmes are directed by a black, Asian or Survey finds 1 per cent of UK TV shows have a BAME directorethnic minority (BAME) director. Further to this, the period drama category has no BAME directors.

The survey of 55,675 episodes, of more than 500 TV programmes up until the end of 2013, revealed that only 1.5 per cent of all programmes within the sample were directed by a BAME individual, whereas just 1.29 per cent of all episodes made in 2013 were done so by a BAME director, a decrease of 20 per cent from the 1.67% per cent recorded before 2011.

Directors UK have revealed that just 3.5 per cent of the total directing community are BAME, whereas the UK’S BAME population stands at 14 per cent.

Of the dramas the researchers analysed, 2.4 per cent were directed by a BAME director; however, the sub-genres within ‘drama’ saw even fewer BAME directors working on programmes.

When the researchers explored the period drama genre, they found no BAME directors to be directing any of the programmes. The researchers looked at programmes such as Mr Selfridge and Downton Abbey.

In the continuing drama category, only 322 of 15,435 episodes were directed by a BAME individual, this includes programmes such as Emmerdale, Coronation Street and EastEnders.

Directors UK found that 0.03 per cent of Coronation Street episodes were from a BAME director. On Emmerdale, the percentage increased to 0.54 per cent. Of the soaps which were assessed, Casualty came out as the continual drama with the highest percentage of BAME directed episodes, with 6.7 per cent. EastEnders had 3.1 per cent of episodes from BAME directors and Holby City had 4.09 per cent.

According to Directors UK, EastEnders, Casualty and Holby City provided “positive examples of how access to employment opportunities can be opened up effectively”.

Of all the genres, single drama was discovered to be the highest-performing, with 12.8 per cent of episodes being directed by BAME talent. Although, the analysis showed that this 12.8 per cent was made up of one single programme strand.

The findings indicated that the figures within comedy are “extremely alarming”. To illustrate this, all of the genres, except one of Sky’s Little Crackers series, were directed by white directors.

Directors UK said that as a result of the research, it would investigate this in order to “deepen our understanding about what may be taking place within the comedy genre”.

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