Posted on 14/01/2020
Following an event held on the International Day of People with Disabilities on 3rd Dec 2019, the BBC has pledged to improve disability representation both on and off-screen in 2020. Their initiatives aim to create more opportunities and get more people into the public broadcaster’s top programmes including EastEnders, Line of Duty, Call The Midwife, Strictly Come Dancing, Antiques Road Show, Gardener’s World and Who Do You Think You Are?
They have come up with a strategy called BBC Elevate which aims to create a greater pool of off-screen talent, solely made up of people with disabilities, who will work regularly with the BBC. By working with those who already have some experience in the broadcasting industry, the aim is to unlock barriers to progression and ensure that these individuals are reaching their full potential.
The second part of their approach to double disability in 2020 is to improve the representation of disability on screen with improved integration of the portrayal of disability in existing programmes. As part of this initiative, Amar Latif, a blind broadcaster is joining the line-up of Pilgrimage, actress and disabled comedian Liz Carr is on Who Do You Think You Are and disabled panellists will be joining Celebrity Mastermind and Would I Lie To You.
Beyond these efforts, the broadcaster has commissioned landmark content and the return of popular series with disability themes and disabled characters. It has been revealed that a one-off drama will be created for the channel that follows a couple with Parkinson’s. Elsewhere BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner is to confront challenges of suddenly becoming disabled, Alex Brooker explores his disability and Mat Fraser will curate a serious of monologues on disability.
The final initiative of the BBC’s three-pronged approach is the BBC Passport which will be rolled out next year to those with a disability working at the organisation. This centralised document details individuals’ disabilities that will be used to inform managers when they move roles so that the appropriate support can be put in place.