BBC Appoints Diversity ‘Champion’

BBC News, June 6, 2006

BBC television has appointed a diversity executive to improve the portrayal of ethnic minorities and disabled people in its programmes.

Mary FitzPatrick—who previously worked for Channel 4 advising on shows like Wife Swap—is the first person to fill the newly-created role.

She will review programmes to ensure they are “culturally authentic”.

BBC director of TV Jana Bennett said the role reflected the BBC’s commitment to audiences.

Early career

“To meet audiences’ expectations in a changing world, we need our programmes to reflect fully and accurately the diversity of the UK population,” she said.

Ms FitzPatrick will have overall responsibility for reviewing and tracking on-screen content to see how black, minority ethnic and disabled people are portrayed on screen.

She said she hoped to deepen the BBC’s relationship with all its audience by “opening it up to diverse talents and voices”.

“The emphasis will not be on quotas or box-ticking, but on focusing minds on the fact that television audiences are hugely diverse and they rightly expect to see themselves and their life experiences reflected on TV.”

Ms FitzPatrick’s previous role at Channel 4 was as editorial manager of cultural diversity.

She began her career as a director and producer at the BBC where she worked on award-winning series such as Horizon and Inside Story.

Ms Bennett added: “Mary FitzPatrick has a formidable track record in marrying outstanding diverse talent with a range of genres and great productions.

“This . . . makes her the perfect person to drive this new role. I look forward to welcoming her back to the BBC.”

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