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Broadcasters unite to create ‘passports’ to support inclusion

Broadcasters unite to create ‘passports’ to support inclusion

Seven of the UK’s main broadcasters have come together to create access and inclusion ‘passports’ that will remove barriers and support better inclusion of disabled people and other colleagues at work.

Channel 4, ITV, BBC, STV, UKTV, S4C and Paramount UK have consulted to agree a similar approach which will see broadcasters encouraging staff to communicate their adjustment needs. The access and inclusion passports, adopted from an initiative formally introduced at the BBC in 2019, will be confidential and will support conversations with line managers to ensure disabled colleagues and others get the right support they need at work.

The passports will also be transferrable to enable colleagues to move smoothly across departments and between broadcasters, reducing the need for disabled talent and staff to repeatedly disclose their adjustment needs to each new employer or manager.

Crucially, managers will be supported at each organisation to help them work with employees and their passports most effectively.

The plans will cover disabled colleagues at the organisations involved, with an ambition to introduce them into the independent production sector to also support disabled freelancers.

The project is an important milestone in collective efforts by the broadcast industry to remove some of the challenging barriers that disabled talent face when working in TV. Each broadcaster has its own plan for introducing the passports in coming months and will adapt them to meet their business priorities. Channel 4’s passport will go beyond disability and health to support staff to talk about any circumstances which may impact life at work.

Ally Castle, Creative Diversity Lead for Disability at Channel 4 said: “Disabled talent and others have lobbied for solutions to the challenges they face which stop them thriving in the workplace, and we are now at a very good place in finding something that will really address people’s needs in our sector.

“A collaborative approach is the only way that this can really work in practice, and we are delighted with the progress made between the seven organisations on board. It’s a really strong basis for rolling the concept out more widely across the industry, and for disabled freelancers too.”

Sam Tatlow, Creative Diversity Partner at ITV says: “Getting everyone around the table to work on a combined solution to support disabled colleagues is one really positive step towards us shifting the dial on accessibility and access in our industry. The access passport enables our disabled colleagues to take charge of the conversation when discussing what support they need, and provides line managers with the tools to engage in the conversation confidently.

“The more confident we all get in talking about disability the better the industry as a whole will become for disabled people joining and progressing.”

Miranda Wayland, Head of Creative and Workforce Diversity and Inclusion at the BBC, said: “We need a BBC and an industry that is accessible for all where no one is excluded or held back as a result of a disability. The passport is a positive action that is designed so that colleagues can easily share information about their disability and any particular requirements and workplace adjustments with their team leader, helping facilitate conversation or prevent having to re-explain when moving roles.

“We’re extremely proud to have launched the scheme three years ago and thrilled that it has been adopted and strengthened through collaboration with our broadcasting partners.”

The BBC was the first UK broadcaster to formally launch passports in 2019, introduced as one of the recommendations made in a report on career progression and culture for disabled staff at the Corporation published in November 2018 which was aimed at raising awareness and creating a disability-friendly environment. Following a recent review, the BBC has made a number of modifications to the passport and will roll out an internal communications campaign to emphasise to staff the benefits of the scheme alongside promoting its usage via a range of other initiatives, such the BBC’s Disability Allies programme.

Channel 4 has extended its passport plan to go beyond disability and health. Its Inclusion Passport will support staff to talk about any experiences and circumstances which may impact life at home and work, including caring responsibilities or faith practices. This approach was piloted in 2021 and will be rolled out in coming weeks. This continues its pioneering approach to staff wellbeing, including being the first major broadcaster to introduce both Menopause and Pregnancy Loss policies.

ITV began the roll out of their Disability Access Passport in December ’21 as part of their Diversity Acceleration Plan and Accelerating Disability into the Mainstream commitments. The passports are also embedded into the recruitment and performance review to ensure disabled colleagues have a number of opportunities to discuss their needs and adjustments with their line manager. Disability inclusion training, delivered by thinkBIGGER!, is also being rolled out support line managers in this process.

STV is introducing the passport as part of its commitment to create inclusive and accessible working environments for all colleagues. The passport will provide a framework to discuss and identify any in-work support, access or adjustments that will support a colleagues’ ability to thrive in their role. Opportunities to introduce the passport will be rolled out across recruitment, onboarding and development processes to help break down and overcome any perceived barriers to progression.

UKTV is also launching a disability access passport this year. Embedded as part of the recruitment and onboarding plan and also rolled out across the business, it will provide a framework within which to discuss the employee’s health and any adjustments they might need to assist them at work. Disability inclusion training and Neurodivergent learning lounges are also planned to further support managers and staff. This is part of UKTV’s disability strategy and holistic approach to workplace wellbeing, along with recently participating in the Mind Workplace Wellbeing Index and partnering with disability organisations such as Diversity and Ability, and We Are Purple as their media sponsor for Purple Tuesday.

S4C will look to pilot its passport scheme later this year, as a crucial step in fostering progress in good work place practices around disability inclusion. Doing so alongside other broadcasters will allow for good practice to be shared and ensure support for the wider production sector to take on similar schemes in the near future.

Paramount UK will be rolling out disability / wellbeing passports across the organisation as part of its Disability Action Plan, being spearheaded by the Office of Global Inclusion, the HR team and Paramount’s Disability Advisor, Samantha Renke. It builds on a range of actions being taken as part of the Action Plan including launching a new Disability employee resource group and creating Disability Ambassadors across the business.

Samantha Renke, Paramount’s Disability Advisor said: “Paramount’s commitment to disability inclusion is stronger than ever and as we build on the work of our Disability Action Plan we will be rolling out disability / wellbeing passports across the business, working with all of our internal stakeholders including HR and the Office of Global Inclusion. Wellbeing is a focal point for the company and it is important to us that the passports are seen as a channel of support for everyone across the business.”

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The world’s biggest cooking contest, Next Level Chef, comes to ITV and ITVX

The world’s biggest cooking contest, Next Level Chef, comes to

The ultimate TV cooking competition is coming to ITV and ITVX, as Gordon Ramsay’s internationally acclaimed Next Level Chef makes its debut on UK TV screens.

Produced by Studio Ramsay Global, Next Level Chef is a one-of-a-kind culinary gauntlet challenge, billed as the toughest and most epic cooking contest on TV.

The eight-part series, broadcasting in 2023, is set in an iconic and trailblazing TV studio like no other, with three unique kitchen spaces set across three storeys and almost 50ft high.

Each floor will test the contestants’ culinary creativity, agility, flare, and expertise, as they vie to progress to the Next Level. From the top-level state of the art kitchen utopia to the gloomy basement level ‘scraps only’ surroundings, Next Level Chef will task its chefs to prove they can thrive in any environment.

In a quest to unearth the culinary world’s next sensation, Gordon Ramsay will be joined by two of the most elite names in food, as the three judges preside over and mentor a group of talented chefs who will compete against each other to prove they can handle the heat in any kitchen space that is thrown at them.

The contestants will be under the watchful eyes of the panel across all three floors as they battle it out to produce the most mouth-watering dishes and avoid elimination. Ultimately, only one can be named Next Level Chef, and the winner will receive a life changing cash prize of £100k and a one-year mentorship under all three mentors.

Casting is currently underway in a bid to find the UK’s very best in cookery, from home chefs to social media stars, with budding chefs urged to apply via www.nextlevelchef.co.uk

A true test of skill and aptitude, the high octane, high adrenaline competition challenges the chefs to determine not only how they fare in the best of circumstances, but what kind of cookery magic they can create in the worst.

Next Level Chef was commissioned for ITV by Head of Entertainment Commissioning Katie Rawcliffe and Commissioning Editors Lily Wilson and Paula Thomas Gallie.

For Studio Ramsay Global, Executive Producers are Gordon Ramsay, Lisa Edwards, and Iain Peckham. Series Editor Lyndon Tovey and Production Executives Sarah Needham and Ben Flower.

Katie Rawcliffe said; “Next Level Chef is a dynamic, edge of your seat cooking competition in a league of its own. We’re so excited to welcome Gordon back to the UK and get started on perhaps the most ambitious TV studio the world has to offer!”

Gordon Ramsay said; “Next Level Chef is off the chart Next Level everything! A culinary competition that is epic on every level. From the size of the enormous structure to every challenge, every moment of jeopardy is huge. I want to see our chefs, social media stars, home cooks whatever their level, whatever their experience, show me what they can do. Whether they’re at the top cooking in the dream kitchen with every gadget and the finest ingredients or in the middle kitchen, good equipment, good ingredients but nothing fancy or, and this is where it gets really interesting, down in the basement kitchen. Super basic, minimal ingredients and left-over scraps then show me what you’re really made of! Talent and tenacity will absolutely shine through, and someone will walk away with an equally Next Level prize, I can’t wait to get started!”

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Channel 4 embeds legacy of The Black To Front Project with more new commissions and targets

Channel 4 embeds legacy of The Black To Front Project

Channel 4 has added Unapologetic and Crazy Rich… to its list of commissions which have come about as a direct result of its award-winning The Black to Front Project.

The ground-breaking day last September saw Channel 4’s entire programming schedule fronted by Black talent and contributors across all genres and advertisements, with the aim of amplifying Black voices in TV to reflect the diverse and vibrant culture of the UK.

Zeze Millz and Yinka Bokinni, pictured above left to right, will front a further six episodes of late night topical talk show Unapologetic (produced by SBTV and Cardiff Productions). It was previously recommissioned following its successful outing during The Black To Front Project.

In Crazy Rich… (w/t produced by Rumpus Media) Eddie Kadi (featured in Celebrity Gogglebox during The Black To Front Project) will act as a tour guide to show a famous comedian mate a side of Ghana that is seldom seen, and it’s a world of wealth, extravagance and exclusivity.

The broadcaster announced last month that The Big Breakfast (produced by Lifted Entertainment, part of ITV Studios) will get a summer run, reviving the award-winning partnership of hosts AJ Odudu and Mo Gilligan which was first seen as part The Black to Front Project special episode. In addition, The Defenders (w/t Spring Films) and Billionaires’ Paradise (Spun Gold) were also commissioned as part of The Black To Front Project.

Other on screen talent who were part of The Black to Front Project and who now have new Channel 4 commissions include Scarlette and Stuart Douglas (Worst House On The Street and George Clarke’s Flipping Fast) and Jean Johansson (Dream Life for Same Price pilot and Keys to a Fortune).Tayo Ogutonade continues to present BAFTA award-winning show The Great House Giveaway. Other shows and projects with Judi Love, AJ Odudu, Zeze Millz, Yinka Bokinni and Munya Chawawa are soon to be announced.

The Black To Front Project won the Broadcasting Press Guild Award for Innovation in Broadcasting.

New Commissioning Guidelines and new Manifesto 4 Change

To ensure that The Black To Front Project continues to drive meaningful change in the TV sector, Channel 4 has worked closely with the Sir Lenny Henry Centre for Media Diversity. The Centre have published a series of recommendations today which have contributed to Channel 4’s brand new Commissioning Guidelines, see here. As an extra statement of intent, Channel 4 has also published a Manifesto 4 Change.

The core principles of the new guidelines include a requirement for ethnically diverse senior leadership on all Channel 4 production teams as well as detailed targets for regional representation and production spend for ethnically diverse off screen talent to help ensure real impact across the spectrum of roles in production teams.

Channel 4 is already committed to ensuring that 20% of its commissioning department is ethnically diverse. That commitment has been further strengthened to state that at least 20% of Channel 4’s editorial decision-makers – Commissioning Editors and Commissioning Executives – as well as the most senior team members are from ethnically diverse backgrounds.

Ian Katz, Chief Content Officer, Channel 4 said: “The Black to Front Project was always about trying to create sustained change in the industry rather than just one day of striking content. We’ve already recommissioned several shows pitched as part of the project, made ambitious commitments to increased spend with ethnic minority-led companies and made genre by genre commitments to commissioning ethnic minority-fronted programming. Today we are doubling down on our pledge to drive change behind the camera with a new set of off-screen diversity targets for all our productions, and a commitment to do all we can to help our indie partners broaden their talent networks and open up our industry to all.

“We are very grateful to the Lenny Henry Centre for their recommendations on how we can achieve this, and will be announcing further plans for more production sector support in coming weeks.“

Ringfenced money for ethnically diverse-led indies

These measures follow the Channel’s recent pledges around commissioning and funding, to champion greater ethnic diversity both on and off screen.

Channel 4 was the first broadcaster to ringfence spend for ethnically diverse-led indies, pledging to triple content spend to £22 million by the end of 2023. The Channel has listened to industry feedback and will work with producers to ensure these targets are closely monitored to make sure they stay on track.

In March this year the broadcaster launched a multi-million-pound Diverse Indies Commissioning Fund with Motion Content Group. Blue Therapy 2 (w/t Project Gorilla/Luti Media) announced this month, is one of the first projects to come from this.

As a way of baking in commitment, Channel 4 has mandated every one of its genre teams to have at least one new show with ethnically diverse talent and/or stories at its heart every year, and every commissioning editor must also have at least one ethnically diverse-led indie on their development slates.

Grassroots support is another important route for Channel 4 to help create change, and the broadcaster is working with We Are Parable to support and mentor sixty up and coming Black filmmakers drawn from across the country.

More granular support for indies to help increase diversity will be announced by the broadcaster in coming weeks.

Marcus Ryder, Head of External Consultancies at the Sir Lenny Henry Centre for Media Diversity and Visiting Professor at Birmingham City University, said, “We are encouraged by the fact that Channel 4’s Black to Front project has proved to be bigger than just one day as the broadcaster has clearly taken the lessons that it learnt from the process and are implementing policies that should make it a more diverse and inclusive broadcaster, and hopefully improve diversity throughout the industry.”

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New behind-the-scenes series following Charlotte Crosby in Sunderland to air on BBC Three

New behind-the-scenes series following Charlotte Crosby in Sunderland to air

Charlotte In Sunderland is a brand new BBC Three reality entertainment show with access all areas into the unpredictable dynamic world of entrepreneur and TV personality, Charlotte Crosby showing her as she has never been seen before.

The show follows Charlotte as she pursues her personal and professional dreams in her beloved hometown of Sunderland whilst juggling the stresses of running her businesses and preparing for motherhood with boyfriend Jake. Viewers can expect to see the everyday goings-on in Charlotte’s successful empire as a resourceful and self made businesswoman who has amassed a large and loyal young fanbase throughout her years growing up in the limelight. With Charlotte based in her hometown, Charlotte in Sunderland shines a spotlight on the North East and all of the things that make it such a special place for Charlotte and her family.

Charlotte Crosby says: “I am beyond excited to be bringing my crazy life, my business ventures, much loved family, future hubby and my precious bump to the BBC! I hope everyone’s ready for the ride ahead!”

Nav Raman, Executive Producer for Chatterbox Media says: “This fast paced entertaining series offers an honest and surprising lens on the multi faceted world of Charlotte Crosby. We can’t wait to open up Charlotte’s world for audiences to join her on this exciting chapter of her journey.”

Issues such as family, love, friendships, money, health and growing up in the public eye are just a few of the challenges Charlotte faces, alongside balancing the incredible task of running a business whilst maintaining relationships with her friends and family and her boyfriend moving in. Charlotte in Sunderland will offer audiences an intimate view into Charlotte Crosby’s world and how she tackles the issues many young women face and can identify with in everyday life.

Charlotte In Sunderland will be coming soon to BBC Three and BBC iPlayer.

Charlotte In Sunderland (10×30) is being made by Chatterbox Media for BBC Three and BBC iPlayer. Executive Producers for Chatterbox are Nav Raman and Ali Quirk. It was commissioned by Nasfim Haque, BBC Three Channel Editor and the BBC Commissioning Editor is Rachel Ashdown.

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