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Read this: 'TV has failed disabled people. Utterly and totally'

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'TV has failed disabled people. Utterly …

BBC sounds music Radio podcasts welcome to the media show in a few minutes, we're going to talk about Channel 4.

It's new is in Leeds open this week and the government's consultation on whether to privatise it finishes in days.

Will it the case for privatisation from former Channel 5 CEO David elstein and if you're wondering whether any of this will have an impact on the telly you watch will impact that to first let's talk to Jack Thorne he's an acclaimed screenwriter.

He's worked on his Dark Materials shameless skins amongst many others and at this year's Edinburgh TV festival he gave the mactaggart lecture is one of the most high-profile moments for the TV industry and innit Jack Thorne was Blunt telling the audience TV has failed disabled people utterly and totally welcome to the media show it's very good to have you with us.

I wonder why.

through that particularly conclusion

primarily because it's true her and I think that the argument my speech sort of broke down into three parts one.

Is that if your figures for representation disabled people are chronically under represented 20% of our population is disabled and yet only 8.2% of our on-screen Talent disabled 5.4% people working behind the screens and if you look at the executive level that it goes right down to 3.6% So there is there is a real problem in terms of Disabled People be employed within the industry the second thing and I'm related to that is the stories that I told about this ability are few and far between that I can only think of a handful of shows its lifetime, and it is very hard to get those two sable stories told I've been trying for years to tell disabled stories on conventional drama budgets and everytime.

I I've been able to tell.

Sorry on TV it's been with a reduced reduced budget because that's the only way of doing it and we need to be elevated and we need to be put into the mainstream and the reason why and this was I think reason why the speech belong this year is that I think that what code behind anything else is the ableism rife in our country and the fact that disabled people were shutout of keep conversations were ignored the even the statistics as to how many deaths were put into a different column.

How many disabled death they were the underlying health conditions? What sort of relegated outside the testics and if you look at care homes and if you look disabled people in their home.

There was a massive over proportion of disabled at the first 100000 code f61 1000 disabled and then the third thing and sort of the thing that I'm particularly.

Aiming app is is that is the are spaces in which we make our work are inaccessible and that disabled people cannot make make shows because there is freaking huge barrier then been up to get into the spaces where we make our work work through some of the issues you raised in this speech with the help of some people who I know you know we have Cherylee Houston who's an actor who plays the Armstrong in Coronation Street is the co-founder of triple c which runs disabled artist networking community.

We also have Bryony Arnold producer and co-director of the deaf and disabled people and TV organisation and then from the creative diversity network Deborah Williams where's the CDN works across UK broadcasting promote equality and diversity and surely Deborah and Brian I know you will pay Close attention to Jack's speech.

Did it resonate with you.

Did it describe a world you record?

100-percent it was starting at 9 message Jack straight afterwards and said I was actually in tears because it resonated so much and that's the problem that is the key issue.

I'm a disabled wheelchair user I'm a drama producer but my god they have not made it easy for me to is not been handed out to me on a silver platter.

That's for sure and in terms of access.

I fundamentally agree with Jack there is no access.

It is being fundamentally difficult for me to anywhere and do my job in fact.

I've had people telling me and say I don't think you should do producing.

I don't think you should really working television you're not going to be able to get with sets not gonna be able to get my location.

I think is only through tenacity my own will that I've got you know what watch me.

You know what I've had to be manhandled.

I've had to be carried around in order to get to locations.

I have to put my

Wacky mobility to one side and Away I have to allow people to help me in ways that I don't wish to be helped.

I've had toilet situations where I've had to be manhandled into the toilet and I have to come across a urine covered floor in order to be able to gain access to a facility on a separate anyone available to me next one was in the middle of nowhere bit more than that is about attitude.

It's about people believing and seeing something that they think they understand when actually they don't and it's about chorus and talking to people like myself sherilee, dad's Jack and so many others that amazing in this industry about what we can actually achieving what we can actually do the problem is there's a heck of a lot prejudiced against to get there and so if that's your experience as a producer Briony and Jacks experience as a screenwriter Shirley what about you as an actor very much the same.

Is my only Caribbean auditions in Leicester Square in corridors outside having a map put down in the disabled toilet as my Green Room jobs auditions being taken off me once they realised I was disabled because they didn't do much my CV just people's assumptions really I know to the Prejudice to fact that you're always a person that goes to make it alright with everybody to be alright with you.

It's that continual fight.

It's not just like somebody going in and doing their job for the first time which is sometimes.

You know we're all getting over tonight Thursday the job.

You have to go in a be an advocate for your community.

You are stuff make a comfortable your access you also have to advocate for your own access and then always makes you feel sometimes.

I could problem for you become this issue.

Where is actually if everywhere like that saying you know was accessible and access was thought through you just be able to go in and do your job and do your job's your best and that's where it's exciting.

I think that's where disabled people with very solution-focused as people and therefore with very creative as well and actually what's when when disability is seeping through into Media people get excited because it is creatively interesting and exciting and that's what I think so so missing is that people see us a lesson actually we had to a situation you know when 5 people so if you took 20% of your team at you're missing 20% of Voices and that's usually that means you're missing out on ideas and this should be your job any more than that is anyone else's but four of you when you look at these experiences playing out and you have them yourself.

How do you explain those to everyone that you're telling about them? Why do you think they happening given? I don't suppose many of your colleagues would be going to work actively wanting to make your life difficult.

So why do we think it is being made so difficult Deborah what's your view of them?

Men I would say the work we do with CD and it's very much research-based and we look at evidence and we've done surveys our work and other people's work show us that there is a great ignorant and a great level of Fear around disability in television so instead of embracing that and finding ways to talk about that.

Honestly and openly people ignore it and pretend.

It's not so if you don't employ a disabled person then you haven't got to have the conversation about disability the word fear their jumped out at me.

Just tell Stanmore what you mean by that and I'm interested to hear from the other three as well.

It does that come into this.

I think it is interesting because it is not compatible research from within the industry that they are frayed that if they say something it's the wrong thing or if they do something it's the wrong thing and they going to get cold ice on it.

And that is that has been screaming loud and safe for my research over the last 3 years and I want to get hold that staff stats 5.4% of people broadcasting are disabled in Austrian rolls 20% of the population is disabled and that is enormous that tells you that people are not experiencing disability and day-to-day life and working with disabled people living with disabled people which means that when you come into a closed environment which will work environment is and especially if that's on location or studio within our industry.

You are looking at something that you don't know that you do not understand that you are fearful of and you do not have time to work that through as an individual so you have to the shortcut keys to ignore it.

That's bring you in I mean there's not much for me to say.

But they speak far better than I do about this and that's the thing about the target lecture I was given this platform, but really I was speaking on behalf of the community and that's all I tried to do and these people actually read the speech before I did it and all three gave notes on on on how to get the speeches as strong as strong as can be and there is a very big reason to be angry the cbn target with broadcast as a Dublin disability bye-bye this year in fact you got delayed year bike overdue and there was just massive massive failure, but instead of this sort of 5% 10% incremental that we needed there was 0.9% You know the TV is is claiming that it's open it's arms and it's claiming that it's changing it is just not and then your speech actually you you directly address that use a disability as the Forgotten diversity the one everyone leaves out of speeches Friday

Presumably would agree with that group on the platform is incredibly important because the problem with the media is full of Wight homogeneous wants to make sure that we are telling creative diverse stories.

We need to have a diverse group of people behind the writing creating finding their stories, but also telling their stories in front of the camera.

That's what we need we need to see those faces when I was growing up.

I didn't see people like myself and it's so important for any child whether they are black white disabled Asian trans to see themselves reflected back on the screen and so therefore has to come organically through the production process that has to come organically from the people behind the screens as well implementing those stories and that Jack said he's been struggling to get their stories told Mrs Jack Thorne

I would add to that as well actually.

I think you know the question about actually fell disabled people.

I think yes television house and I think it has because it lacks ambition and imagination about the possibility of what disabled people can do and who disabled people are and it's a simple as if you live in a silo with in general or within the word within which you're working your understanding of any particular group is limited then.

That is what you seek to replicate and if you do not see ambition and authority and leadership and humour in disability and disabled people then, that's not what you're not going to look for it yet that never mind the drama of life.

You know life isn't sad as a disabled miserable.

We do all the all the things other people do and then some and I think that is the biggest problem with what the situation we find ourselves in.

That's why doubling disability was critical for me when I came into this role at CDM 5 years ago disability wasn't being talked about in television now.

It is and as you're saying that I have another quote from Jack speech in which he says disabled stories need to be told and when they are told they need to be told with disabled people.

I wonder all of you and perhaps surely.

I could ask you this first how you would like the broadcast industry to go about doing what Jack is recommended you prefer quotas.

Do you prefer policy Commitments you prefer culture change programme? What do you think of the necessary tools to use in order to deliver on the Vision that Jack set out all of the above probably started.

Just just take a leap take a risk nobody knows all the answers, but he's just really easy.

Just talk to disabled people because as a disabled person.

It's awful to see somebody represent you and tell you.

Is it's not true and perpetuating those miss and our Society out those Mr so archaic and how to date we're living in a society.

Where is ok for the news to just keep going it's just just those with underlying health conditions that going to die winemakers any less than any other human being and the thing is that's because I stories on reported in the news put it on every agenda every single gender.

You have make sure that disability is there and where that fits in and if you're worried about it going to watch the disabled person we get that it can be quite fearful she start but just you know where they can help you Shirley how do you view how Coronation Street has told the story of your character is the armstrong through the pandemic and they've taken reasonable adjustments and made them work.

Do you know the mean? They they filmed me at home because I was shielding and still am and you know that shows it.

The television show you can do it in anything in life and actually that's the media really leads in how we live in society and at the moment papertrain different ways of doing that was Coronation Street have been normal for me.

You know now.

We got a fully wheelchair accessible way all around the street all around Studios that makes it easy for all the people for people caring everything's people don't realise the access isn't just for the disabled person it makes better everywhere and the Coronation Street to tell that story and I think they're the only one you told you no other than Jack's standing drama.

That's coming up as told the story of how disabled people are in one in five people wear our stories.

Why we being so excluded surely you mentioned Jack's new drama.

I think you've got a couple coming up as she Jack when Barbara Allen and so help which I think the first of which brand has been involved in as well.

Does this mean that at least some things are improving that it's easier to get commissions and that when you do start working at work.

At least improving on where it was well.

Yes to some degree and that leaving Commitments that have been made post Edinburgh I really respect them Barbara McCallum was actually commission by history not by drama, so we had to go in by a different door and it was a really really joyful experience and wanting brownie packs won't blow and Trumpet about but it's kind of Incredible about it was that it was accessible all the way all the way up and that and that they would members of the crew in every branch that was the first time experience and it was amazing she wrote a disability crib.

Sheets that when we don't everytime that was about the shower disability crib.

She came with her.

What was on it Bryony so basically because we working with crew members that hand work with anybody from the disabled community before we wanted to make sure the do's and don'ts.

Justice like Debs Adela take away the fear about how to perhaps approach someone in a wheelchair, are you don't just go and grab their wheelchair.

It might sound really obviously you'd be surprised.

It's but you know it was just a general commitment to saying that we are here as employees as well.

We are here to make annagry program, but we also want to take away some of the question marks and the mist as well and to reassure people but it was an incredibly joyful experience what I mean.

We got cost in most incredible cast of The Good actor's as well.

Lots of you have not done much TV any TV work and to find these people was just extraordinary and I'm not going to lie.

I had I cried like a baby in the corner particular thing as I was in a room full of disabled people who were doing something quite monumental and joyful and purposeful and that such a rarity in our industry and it really

Well, I can understand why Jack just before we finish this discussion you gave this as I said very Blunt speech that demanded the industry's attention.

I wonder what the reaction was from the big guns within the industry when they heard that message from you very very good very very positive.

I mean that The Commitments from the BBC and Netflix making disabled shows with huge Channel 4 made a similar commitment Sky is building on making a commitment now.

We haven't opened Channel 5.

Hopefully we will and and and hopefully change will happen because people will become empowered and people be used to seeing seeing disabled people on screen is like the next Sarah Lancashire she is giving the facilities in which to do that and I'm when she is she will she will she will take the world weather and and it will be a beautiful beautiful thing we all looking forward.

Just to say that you know it's my job and the CDN to hold the broadcasters to account so they have made this summer rest assured.

I'll be checking in with them on the basis of whether or not there a delivery on the fantastic.

Will leave it there for the moment Jack Thorne Brian Arnold Deborah Williams Sherrie Houston thank you very much indeed and listening to all of that is David elstein former Channel 5 CEO director of programmes former director of programs at BSkyB David will talk about Channel 4 and possible privatisation in a moment, but you held senior roles within UK broadcasting I wonder if at the time you feel looking back disability representation was given the attention it warranted behind other diversity, so the most successful, lobby was from the death broadcasting Council getting subtitles and audio description.

It took awhile at for the broadcasters regulators to get there, but it is now a requirement for broadcasters to have virtually all their programming subtitles and 10% of its audio description so with the next Wave of diversity challenge was from ethnic minority representation and all the broadcasters make commitments.

I haven't been hugely successful disability.

It's kind of three-dimensional with on-screen behind the screen and then what is the screen doing so surely watch shark coriander impressed that has easy storyline is not necessarily based on disability.

She has another storylines as well when I watch.

Life by McDonald's on BBC2 Jones was playing a character a mainstream character, it is the fact that she was disabled was completely from moment to moment in the episodes.

It would be common to lie.

You've got to the first Commission was from labelwriter disability, so it's a multidimensional issue, which has had less attention David thank you a lot of attention certainly in the last few weeks because disability representation is given the huge temporary boost by Channel 4 coverage of the Paralympics but now we have this channel 4 that it won't be able to do anything like that level of coverage again if it's privatised and that issue the possible privatisation of Channel 4 is coming into sharp Focus next week.

Consultation on this closes at decision will follow in monthly thing and we know where Channel 4 stands.

It's cu, Alex Meyer on spoke to the media show in June they don't cost taxpayer anything at all.

We take money commercially from appetizers.

We don't make a profit.

We take all that money about a billion pounds of revenue a year and we recycle it into small and medium businesses across the UK was reiterated again as Channel 4 opened its new headquarters in Leeds this week, but David you disagree with it as you made clear in a detailed statement to a House of Lords committee this week.

Why should disappear from for under private ownership.

Why would it it does very well in terms of audience it and it's keep well.

Well, we can we can give you the argument here programming director at Channel 4 and cat said I just don't think there's any chance that are primarily profit-driven Channel 4 would invest anything like that.

We invest in trying to build up and celebrate the Paralympics in the way.

We do a purely profit-driven Channel 4 would be a very different beast of the channel for that.

We know now.

It would be more efficient and pumping money into standards and put more money on the screen in the last year Channel 4 part 138 million-pound, but staff numbers and it's staff pay by a significant margin 912 employees of Channel 4 earning an average of £1,000 to Euro programme not true first of all clearly if it were clearly if it were private enterprise you would imagine that private enterprise would pay.

Well to secure the best anime just looking at some of the details from one moment.

I'm just looking at just looking at some of the details from Channel 4 annual report its latest report streaming growth up 20% digital revenue growth of 11% corporate revenue forecast for exceed 1 billion pounds for the first time.

I could go on and on it doesn't sound like a business.

That's being particularly badly run.

I'd run a commercial businesses and it is bad.

If it has 10 times as many people working in program and just a Channel 5 now in the last 20-years and payments tab wouldn't and I have to say this the Paralympics 7 million.

2012 and 2016 and 2024 will be running a Paralympics commercial 10 clearly Channel 4 with dispute strongly that it's not efficiently run.

I would ask you though.

I'd ask it ask you a different question though.

They are different question all the problems you raise hear that it's remix not clearing after the remix not being properly enforced by the regulator that it's not efficient enough why does privatisation saw any problems out seems to me you identify the problem and come up with a solution that doesn't necessarily fit because as soon as you enter into a contract with a private owner you can force them commit to programming commitments which Channel 4 will not permit.

So you're saying that are regulated can't the regulator that controls a public service broadcast now but could in the future do so with a private operation combat did it would be a government contract that it as legal contract at the moment has no power to discipline Channel 4 when it blatantly ignore the ability to issue fines, but look Jack Thorne let me bring you back.

It has done it.

Jack Thorne let me bring you in why do one moment please David Jack Thorne why do this is a bad idea? I don't really understand the Eichmann the argument seems to be that salaries are a bit high at Channel 4 compared to elsewhere.

I don't think that's necessarily true and I and I and I don't understand why the focus is not on what channel 4 is done historical which has made really good television really good television that people want to watch and and we live in the age of the co-pro in drama at the mo.

Cannot attract international finance you're in trouble.

It's very difficult to make shows and and that means that the local is being lost so we are constantly looking for Global and and and and that means that shows but that's talk about our country that talk about what makes our country interesting that the focus on look at the problems within our social realism otherwise a lost and it will be a tragedy of time.

I thought I know David disagrees with that will have to return to the subject for the moment.

Thank you very much indeed the consultation on 11 11:45 p.m.

On the 14th.

You still time then.

We wait 4-months.

We think until there's a decision.

Thanks for David elstein Jack Thorne Deborah Williams Shirley Houston and Bryony the media show will be back at the same time next week for now.

Don't from mirrors Atkins and all of the team.

Thank you very much for listening and goodbye.

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