The BBC is to quadruple the number of disabled people on screen, it has announced, weeks after unveiling a similar quota system for black and ethnic minority representation.
Lord Hall, the Director General, said it was “vital” that the Corporation reflected the make-up of the nation. Disabled actors, presenters and on-air contributors currently make up 1.2 per cent of those who appear on screen. The target is 5 per cent by 2017. There are also targets for behind-the-scenes staff and for Management positions.
A new “pan-BBC Disability Executive” will be appointed to improve the portrayal of disabled people and to champion disabled talent throughout the corporation.
Julie Fernandez, the actress and campaigneer best known for her role as a wheelchair-bound worker in ‘The Office’ said: “I think it’s about bloody time. But I hope things do change, because I feel like I’ve heard this for the past 20 years.” She said change would only come “when disabled people become the writers and casting directors”.