Fri, Apr 2, 2010
[Image by WoodleyWonderWorks]
Good grief! It’s Good Friday already! Easter Greetings from Not From Concentrate HQ where public holidays don’t mean that much anymore. Still, that’s a cross we have to bear. See what I did there?
Amongst the other jobs to get done today, I wanted to write a protracted blog post that covers the tricky subject of diversity in TV, which has been increasingly bugging me over the past few weeks, following on from numerous conversations and discussions – some official, industry-led events, but mainly face-to-face in the cosy confines of the pub with a few pints to lubricate the debate.
I was going to give a thought-provoking overview of the pros and cons of pigeon-holing diverse groups of people into programming, give a frank and heart-felt opinion about tick-box commissioning and try and deliver a balanced analysis of what diverse content currently resides in our TV schedules.
I was going to do that, all of it, but actually I’ve got better things to do with my time – like write cryptic clues for the imminent Easter egg hunt. And besides, all of the above is perfectly well documented all over t’internet by every industry spokesperson, every community champion and every minority group representative. [Incidentally, is it just me or is the word ‘minority’ somewhat patronising and demeaning these days? Probably.]
So, I’m just going to give a few, highly simplistic lines about our own take on diversity:
DUMP THE D-WORD
We try and ignore the whole term and think it really should be made redundant. Instead, we simply substitute ‘diverse’ for ‘quality’. Diverse talent? No, quality talent. Diverse commissioning? Quality commissioning has more of a ring to it, don’t you think? Diverse casting? Er, how about quality casting?
‘Diversity’ creates a dangerous, segregating precedent that puts commissioners and producers on the back foot for fear of falling foul of the Quota Watchdogs. Forget all that. Please.
Make quality the governing factor and this could and should be the future of TV production:
“See this bloke – he’s an incredible actor.” “He’s gay.” “So what? HE’S AN INCREDIBLE ACTOR!”
“Check out this script by this unknown writer.” “Love it, bring her in.” “She’s in a wheelchair.” “And? We’ve got ramps, BRING HER IN!”
“This new quiz show format totally rocks!” “I agree.” “Oh, the guy’s from Scunthorpe.” “And that matters because? Get me a fucking train ticket.”
“Wow, what an amazingly shot short film – so fresh, so contemporary, so what we’re looking for. By an Asian director would you believe.” “I don’t care if he’s Martian – we need to see more of him. Get on it.”
MORE QUALITY, MORE WOMEN PLEASE
In these first few months that we’ve been up and running, the quality of the ideas that we’ve seen come through has been outstanding, first and foremost. But if there needs to be a secondary benchmark, then the ideas have come from the old, young, ethnically and regionally diverse, hearing-impaired, straight, gay, male and female.
Actually, I lie – we’ve not had any ideas come through the Not From Concentrate process from any females so far. Strange, but true.
And the one thing that unites all these lovely people? One word, three syllables. I think you know what we’re talking about.
Which seems like the perfect moment to move on to more things cryptic – and cocoa.