Following a meeting hosted by WGGB between representatives of BEATS, BBC and CBBC in March 2019, the BBC has confirmed a commitment to contracting as many East Asian comedy writers and off-screen crew as possible who meet requirements for the show. BEATS’ statement in response can be seen here.
WGGB has spoken out in the wake of the latest case highlighting the lack of diversity in many writers’ rooms, questioning the way so-called ‘cultural consultants’ are being used by some broadcasters and production companies.
In an open letter to CBBC and the production company Twenty Twenty Television, BEATS (British East Asians in Theatre and on Screen) raised their concerns over the lack of British East Asians in the writers’ room and challenging the use of a single ‘cultural consultant’ on Living with the Lams, a CBBC sitcom which is currently in development.
WGGB had already written to the BBC raising its concerns about this issue.
WGGB General Secretary Ellie Peers said:
“We are increasingly concerned that experienced writers from under-represented groups are being used as ‘cultural consultants’ rather than being engaged as part of the writing team.
“If broadcasters are unable, for whatever reason, to contract writers from BAME groups to tell their own stories, then we believe they should do the following: Nurture and support the next generation of screenwriters by providing paid opportunities led by more experienced writers on these shows. Or, if that is not possible, either rethink and redevelop the show with BAME writers at the heart of the story.
“We are always happy to meet with broadcasters and producers to discuss these issues directly.”