UK is “behind” in television, as British BAME actors have to make breakthroughs abroad first

Vivian Eguridu, a producer at Studio Lambert II and Co-Founder of the BAME TV Task Force, during a debate as part of the Edinburgh Television Festival, declared that

British actors from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds are making breakthroughs abroad before their talent is being recognised in the UK.


Ms Eguridu, with her BAME TV Task Force, aims to promote racial diversity in the television industry, bringing an alternative to the “issue” when it comes to BAME actors making breakthroughs on screen in the UK.

She stated that actors “Have to go to other markets to be recognised and then they are given an opportunity here.

More opportunities need to be given to BAME talent in the UK, says Vivian Eguridu. Image credit Danny Lawson/PA/Independent.ie

“We spoke about Idris Elba, he was on [US crime drama] The Wire, then all of a sudden he can be in [the BBC’s] Luther.”Ms Eguridu also brought in a real-life example. The story of John Boyega, who is a British actor and producer of Nigerian descent who initially rose to prominence for his role as Moses in the sci-fi comedy film Attack the Block (2011) and only later became best known for playing Finn in the Star Wars sequel trilogy.

“There is so much talent here and it just needs to be homegrown and the opportunities need to be given,” she enhanced.

“In other markets, black and Asian and minority ethnic talent are being given platforms, where in the UK sometimes it’s just not the same.”

To advance a change, or to try to do so, last month the BAME TV Task Force sent a letter to the industry figures and Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden calling for a greater focus on racial diversity and inclusion in the sector.

The letter has now received more than 1,500 signatures and lots of discussions have arisen.

Vivian Eguridu. Image credit Vivian Eguridu/PA/Independent.ie

Abby Kumar, also a member of the task force, explained that for BAME people, growing up and not seeing themselves represented on screen has a huge negative effect.“You don’t feel as accepted by British society, you don’t feel like you are part of the conversation and I think it is really important that we make sure that doesn’t happen for future generations,” she denounced.


Last month also Killing Eve star Sandra Oh pointed out that the UK is “behind” when it comes to diversity in television, but her comment did not inspire so much change, as she said that it has always been her “and 75 white people” on set.

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