Days after writer, actor and director Noel Clarke said that Black talents get only one shot to prove themselves in the U.K. television industry, Kevin Lygo, director of television at U.K. broadcaster ITV, has said that they will get multiple opportunities.
Speaking at the Edinburgh TV Festival, Lygo said: “I can assure everybody that whenever a new show is being commissioned, always the first question is, where is the diversity in this? Behind the cameras and in front of the cameras.”
“We’re going into partnership with some Black presenters and Black performers to take a longer-term view of their career, help build them. If they do one show that doesn’t really work, we don’t discard them. We’ll work with them to keep a career path clear for them. That’s where I think there is significant and real change now.”
ITV has a clearly stated diversity acceleration plan and recently promoted Ade Rawcliffe to the position of group director of diversity and inclusion.
Speaking about the relevance of ITV at a time when streamers Disney Plus, Netflix and Amazon Prime Video have made huge viewership gains, Lygo said, “We’ve got to be noisier, louder, we’ve got to think what is it that you’d come to ITV for. Largely, it’s big, fun, entertainment in all genres, and our dramas. So that’s where the concentration has been and will continue to be.”
Lygo talked up a strong ITV fall schedule, including the 20th series of immensely popular show “I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!” that has moved from Australia to the U.K. and will now be filmed at the historic Gwrych Castle, Abergele in North Wales.
Teasing the upcoming season of another hit, “The Masked Singer,” that will begin filming in September in strict COVID-19 controlled conditions, Lygo said, “This year is ramped up now. There’s some surprisingly interesting, fun people behind those masks.”
Speaking about yet another hit, “Love Island,” Lygo said that if the show cannot shoot in Mallorca next summer due to coronavirus restrictions, ITV would consider another location.