Channel 4 sets out ‘engage & enable’ Disability Strategy

By Helen Adams
Channel 4 is dedicated to boosting disability inclusion, both on and off screen. Here's how the makers of Spaced, Black Books and Skins plan to diversify

Channel 4 has set out a strategy to enable the industry to increase its inclusion of disabled people, by focusing on high level changes and shifts in culture.

The broadcaster also plans to increase the quantity and quality of representation on screen.


Channel 4’s commitment to increasing diverse representation

The Creative Diversity plan will drive forward commitments to deliver Commissioning Diversity Guidelines, the Valuable 500 Commitment, the CDN’s industry-wide commitment to Doubling Disability behind the camera, and the channel’s own commitment to increasing representation on-screen.

The ‘engage & enable’ strategy covers plans for:

  • Identifying talent pipelines and pathways: identifying spaces and routes for disabled on-screen talent to grow.
  • Empowering disabled freelancers by removing barriers and continuing to champion disabled talent at all levels.
  • Industry upskilling to build knowledge and provide practical support and producing guidelines for indies on hiring, including and progressing disabled talent.
  • ‘Paralympics and Beyond’ ensuring the portrayal of disabled people in every genre: such as developing a disability code of portrayal, and providing expert editorial support on key projects to ensure fair and authentic representation.
  • More disability disruption: creating more memorable and challenging on-screen moments intended to deliver big-scale social impact.
  • Regular dialogue with disabled people: inviting and encouraging conversation and consultation with disabled viewers, organisations and industry insiders


Channel 4 desires ‘lasting disability inclusion’

Last year, Channel 4 set out a number of commitments around disability such as doubling its workforce disability target from 6 to 12% by 2023, and a commitment to achieve 9% on-screen representation by 2023. 

It also continues to monitor disabled representation in the channel’s top 100 shows.

“As the Paralympics broadcaster, home of The Last Leg, and champions of brilliant disabled talent, we want to be the broadcaster of choice for disabled people –  viewers, talent and creatives alike”, said Ally Castle, Creative Diversity & Disability Lead at Channel 4. “Because we believe that if we can get it right for disabled people, we will get right for everyone. Channel 4 wants to engage and enable the industry to achieve genuine, lasting disability inclusion. To do this, we know we need to be a part of driving and facilitating big scale change, working with a range of partners with disability expertise and collaborating with stakeholders across our industry and beyond. This strategy is intended to build on our existing work and partnerships in this area, and focus us even more on building confidence and facilitating opportunities among indies and freelancers off screen, delivering consistent and considered authentic portrayal on screen, and ensuring audience input and impact.”



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