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Lenny Henry: BAFTA Television Lecture 2014

18 March 2014

What can be done to increase representation of ethnic minorities in TV? Watch Lenny Henry discuss in the 2014 annual BAFTA Television Lecture.

Lenny Henry discusses the deterioration of Black and Asian Minority Ethnic involvement in the creative industries, and how this can be improved to more accurately reflect British communities on screen.

Watch the event in full...

Listen to the interview:

Listen to the Q&A:

Lenny Henry Television Lecture Transcript (144.2 KB)

Lenny Henry gave details of the latest census conducted by Creative Skillset, which reported a 30.9% decline in the number of black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) people working in the UK TV industries between 2006 and 2012.

The "appalling percentage" taken from the census, has caused Henry to request an increase in monitoring and draft a proactive proposal intended to encourage more productions to use BAME actors and production staff.

The evolution of BAME involvement in British TV seems to lurch one step forward and two steps back.

The proposal called for new legislation that would ensure BAME productions were being made, adopting the template of a successful initiative run by the BBC in 2003 to increase representation of nations and regions beyond the M25.

Henry also covered the trend that has transpired in recent years of British BAME actors finding work in America rather than here in the UK.

Making a comparison between British and American television, Henry claimed that the opportunities across the pond are far superior to the work that BAME UK talent is able to find at home.

Our most talented BAME actors are increasingly feeling they have to go to America to succeed.

During his lecture, Henry spoke in detail about how a BAME production could be defined and the steps that can be implemented to ensure that "great programmes are produced by the multi cultural many as opposed to the mono-cultural elite."

Lenny's Telvision Industry Proposal

BAFTA's annual Television Lecture provides a platform for discussion and debate around issues effecting the TV industry today. To faciliate this debate, we have made available Lenny Henry's TV industry proposal, titled 'I Have A Screen'.

Lenny Henry TV Industry Proposal (465 KB)