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BBC commits to 50:50 gender casting by 2020

Tony Hall, BBC director general. Photo: James Fletcher
Tony Hall, BBC director general. Photo: James Fletcher
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At least 50% of lead roles in all genres will be filled by women by 2020, the BBC has pledged.

The target is one of many outlined by the Corporation to “hardwire” diversity and inclusion into all of its activities, both on and off air.

In relation to its output, the BBC said it had set “challenging new on-air portrayals” for disabled people, women, ethnic minorities and LGBT people.

The BBC said that, by 2020, 50% of on-screen and on-air roles will be filled by women, including lead roles in all genres, with a similar 15% target set for black, Asian and minority ethnic people on screen.

In terms of the representation of LGBT people, the BBC has committed to an 8% target, which is also the target set for disability on screen. However, this does not include a commitment to having 8% of lead roles filled by disabled talent, with the BBC pledging “some lead roles”.

Director general Tony Hall said the BBC had made some “excellent progress” but more had to be done.

“At its very core, our purpose is to represent everyone and give opportunities to people from all backgrounds,” he said.

The BBC will create a “centre of excellence” for the commissioning and development of diverse programming, which will be based in Birmingham.

It will also develop commissioning guidelines to make sure “everyone who makes programmes for us shares our values and commitments”.

The Corporation also said it would “embed diversity and inclusion throughout the BBC” with “unconscious bias training for all managers and interviewers”.

The measures add to those already implemented by Hall since taking up his post in 2013, including a £2.1 million diversity fund.

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