BBC Studios Imposes 20 Percent Diversity Quota on All New Productions

John Boyega in the ‘Red, White and Blue’ episode of ‘Small Axe' (BBC/McQueen Limited/Will Robson)
BBC/McQueen Limited/Will Robson

BBC Studios, the largest producer of content in Great Britain, is imposing a 20 percent diversity quota on all new productions in an apparent effort to boost the visibility of ethnic minorities, LGBTQ individuals, and people with disabilities.

The studio announced the quotas on Monday, saying in a press release that the new “inclusion rider” is effective immediately and will apply to on-screen talent and well as behind-the-scenes staff on all new BBC and third-party U.K. commissions. The rider targets so-called “BAME” individuals — black, Asian, minority ethnic people, as well as the disabled and low-income individuals.

“These initiatives are by no means a magic bullet and we’re also doing a lot of work on culture and education to make our teams more inclusive,” Ralph Lee, BBC Studios’ director of content, said in a statement. “The talent in front of and behind the camera will give perspectives that will shape our content, making it more authentic and universal in its depiction of our audiences — and ultimately its appeal with them.”

BBC Studios said that LGBTQ talent won’t be eligible for off-screen quotas because the company “has already exceeded this target.”

Among the most popular shows from BBC Studios are Top Gear, Doctor WhoGood Omens, Luther, and the long-running EastEnders. The studio, which is the production arm of the BBC, also creates content for distributors around the world, including Amazon, Apple, and China Mobile.

The initiative is the latest move by the entertainment industry to impose diversity quotas on movies and TV shows. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced in September that movies must reach certain quotas for women, ethnic minorities, disabled, and LGBTQ people if they are to be considered for the best picture Oscars category.

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