U.K. broadcaster Channel 4 has issued best practice recommendations on working with disabled talent, adopting a number of recommendations set out by newly-formed pressure group Underlying Health Condition (UHC).

The group, founded by “His Dark Materials” scribe Jack Thorne, actor Genevieve Barr (“The Silence”), production manager Katie Player (“Churchill) and producer Holly Luban, launched last week.

Now Channel 4 has issued a number of guides, which apply both off-screen and on-screen, in a bid to improve accessibility and inclusion for disabled creatives working in television.

On-screen, the broadcaster has issued three template documents to ensure disabled talent, presenters and contributors can focus on delivering great content, including an access rider for talent, an access statement for sets and an access plan to record any adjustments that may be needed.

Off-screen, three booklets have been issued to help production companies be more inclusive of deaf, disabled and neurodivergent people, create more accessible working environments and practices and ensure career progression for disabled freelancers and employees.

Disability has been left behind, it isn’t talked about enough and it has now become a real problem in our industry. Our job at Channel 4 is to help change it,” said Channel 4’s chief executive Alex Mahon in a statement. “People have rights to go and get jobs, this is not a favour, it’s not charity, it’s about thinking about where there are skills in our industry which we’re not accessing.”

Channel 4’s chief content officer Ian Katz added: “These guidelines offer simple, often easily implemented, suggestions which we believe can make a real difference for on and off-screen disabled talent on all our productions. After a Paralympic year which has highlighted Channel 4’s commitment to disabled representation, we want to maintain the momentum by driving the changes needed to create a truly inclusive industry, open to the widest possible pool of talent.”

Ally Castle, Channel 4’s disability lead in the Creative Diversity Team, said: “It is time to celebrate the wealth of fantastic disabled talent we have in our industry and to make adjustments to ensure they are truly included. These guides will help answer common questions and offer practical solutions. We need to start looking at our working environments and practices, as well as our attitudes and assumptions around disability, through a different lens and see how these create barriers to a more inclusive space for everyone. By making often small changes employers usually find they’ve shaped a better working, creative environment which is appreciated by all employees.”

In a statement, UHC, which was first mentioned in Thorne’s MacTaggart lecture at the Edinburgh TV Festival in August, said: “It is so encouraging to see these changes happening and that Channel 4 is doing so much to promote best practice for disabled people in the industry.”

UHC aims to improve access and career progression for disabled creatives in the TV industry and is calling on broadcasters, production companies and studios to adopt a number of recommendations – such as ensuring the availability of accessible toilets and providing accessibility coordinators on set – to enable this.