Sally Wainwright

Northern television giants Alan Bleasdale and Sally Wainwright are among a long list of people lobbying broadcasters to take action to improve their record on diversity in employment.

Together with a host well-known writers, presenters and actors, which includes Russel T Davies and Lenny Henry, the signatories to a petition say they are “dismayed at the poor numbers of Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) people both on our screens and working behind the camera.”

The petition and letter is being 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.

As we uncovered earlier this summer, BBC North has some specific challenges to face in improving diversity in the workforce – while nationally, the BBC attracts around 26% of applicants from Black and Ethnic Minority backgrounds, here in the north it achieved just 14.1 % between 2010 and 2014.

The letter calls on broadcasters to take action with ring-fenced funding:

“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.”

The signatories listed at The Guardian this morning are:

  • 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
  • Dominic Cooke CBE
  • Allan Cubitt
  • Richard Curtis CBE
  • Stephen Daldry CBE
  • Russell T Davies OBE
  • Gregory Doran
  • Nadine Marsh Edwards
  • Idris Elba
  • Marianne Elliott
  • Barbara Emile
  • Daniel Evans
  • Sir Richard Eyre CBE
  • Aminatta Forna
  • Michael Foster
  • Neil Gaiman
  • Lucy Gannon
  • 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
  • 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
  • Geoff Small
  • Lord Alan Sugar
  • Meera Syal MBE
  • Emma Thompson
  • David Tse
  • Indira Varma
  • Sally Wainwright
  • Matthew Warchus
  • Richard Wilson OBE
  • Benedict Wong
  • David Yip
  • Pat Younge