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BBC expands diversity

by: Leslie Bunder - Last updated: 2006-06-07



The BBC has appointed its first editorial executive of diversity with a remit to improve the way in which the BBC reflects its audience. The move could even see, Jewish characters emerge again in popular programmes such as Eastenders.

Mary FitzPatrick, who previously was Channel 4's editorial manager of cultural diversity has also previously worked with the BBC takes on her new role from July.

"This is certainly a very welcome appointment and hopefully the BBC will actually show the diversity includes the Jewish community," said a Jewish radio and TV scriptwriter. "The BBC has been preaching about how much it includes different communities, but when was the last time you saw something that was Jewish and wasn't about the Holocaust or Israel. I just hope that we will see a better welcome to creative ideas that are not just about World War II and the Middle East."

"I see my role as enhancing the BBC's programming by opening it up to diverse talents and voices in a way that will deepen its relationship with all its audiences," said FitzPatrick. "The emphasis will be not be on quotas or box-ticking, but on focusing minds on the fact that television audiences are hugely diverse and they rightly expect to see themselves and their life experiences reflected on TV."

Included in the role, FitzPatrick will develop a database of diverse talent to be used by the BBC in-house production team as well as independent producers. She will also involved with helping programme makers better understand how diverse communities can be presented on-screen.

“This all sounds great and will be interesting to see how the portrayal of Jews will be better reflected in BBC programming,” said another scriptwriter. “Previously, the BBC appeared to be very unwelcoming to Jewish themes in its programming and has made it very difficult for many scriptwriters to get any sort of break in terms of reflecting their community in BBC output.”