Why is there not more diversity in the people making programmes?
someone and just seeing how she worked and having ideas about
how I might work. No one who is not disabled is going to tell me.
That is not because they are evil or bigoted; it is just because they
dont know. That was useful and as I had been there longer and was
more experienced I started getting more enquiries from newer
people, and it was just obviously useful for them to talk to me as
well. - Assistant producer
There are several disabled people from the DPU working successfully in TV and
radio now. Many others left when the DPU disbanded. The concern is that,
without the DPU, fewer disabled people are now coming into the industry and
those that do are likely to be people with less marked physical disability, as the
current arrangements do not provide the same support and resources that were
so valued by the DPU trainees.
It lacks an infrastructural approach, what the DPU gave it and this
is not a plea for a ghetto into which disabled people can go and stay
because the DPU was never like that. The DPU was a conduit, a
point of entry. - Former editor
The main replacement for the DPU has been the Extend scheme and this was
heavily criticised by the people I interviewed, including Human Resources
personnel and producers who had sat on the Extend interview panels.
The Extend scheme for disabled work placements is only for three
months. Its not very effective. No one understood how to manage
access requirements for interviews, never mind actual placements.
Its too short to be much use. I feel that its all about ticking boxes,
being able to say weve had so many disabled people working here
rather than meaningful employment opportunities. - Human
Some of the most successful people from minorities in broadcasting acknowledge
they would not even have joined the industry if it had not been for the specialist
units, and several felt it was time to consider whether they should be
reintroduced - but to apply the learning from previous experience and not allow
them to become ghettos.
I would argue that we do need them because we havent reached
the point in society where you can let go without that kind of
intervention. Channel 4 has tried it (dropped its multicultural
commissioning unit) but look at whats happened, nobody is
commissioning it, they didnt hit their target. So I would say that we
need those units because they foster talent and the biggest
breakthroughs in the industry have occurred when there has been a
critical mass of Asian and Black people. - Independent TV
If you are going to do it, dont put the Unit in Pebble Mill, put it in
one of the big departments and you fund it like a proper department
and you see it as an entry thing and you pride yourself on people
leaving it, you pride yourself after three years you probably had an
almost wash through of staff and they may have gone to ITV or
Channel 4, the indie sector, but our job is to train the industry. -