ITV adopt BBC-like comedy diversity stance Page 2

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kate to the party

  • Wednesday 19th June 2019, 1:47pm
  • England
  • 46 posts
Quote: Rood Eye @ 19th June 2019, 1:22 PM

However, I find it very easy to imagine that there are a great many comedy writers (regardless of gender) who would object to having one or more other writers (regardless of gender or any other characteristic) foisted upon them with the threat that they either work with the new person/people or they don't work at all.

I don't think anyone's suggesting a random writer would be 'foisted' upon anyone -that's not really how writing partnerships work. It would be more a case of seeking out women writers whose work is good (and if you genuinely know no good ones that's fine, get a friend to recommend some) and testing the waters to see if you work well together. If it's not working out then abandon, try again.

If all of this seems like too much work, or you're unable to find any writer you'd be able to work with without feeling like your career is under 'threat' then maybe you just have to accept that writing partnerships aren't for you. Don't worry your pretty little head about it! (This last sentence is an example of irony, acceptable in the context of the conversation, etc)

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Rood Eye

  • Wednesday 19th June 2019, 2:19pm [Edited]
  • England
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I get the distinct impression that you're an absolute barrel of laughs, Kate - and exactly the sort of person TV companies should be employing to entertain the nation. Laughing out loud

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kate to the party

  • Wednesday 19th June 2019, 2:21pm
  • England
  • 46 posts

This is a good quote from Sam Bain (formerly of Bain & Armstrong) on the subject:

"There is an increasingly urgent debate in Hollywood (and the UK) about diversity and gender equality. It seems that everyone is aware how much needs to change, behind and in front of the camera.

As a white man, there are two ways of engaging with these issues - as an anxiety-inducing obligation or as an exciting challenge, and I've tried to pick the latter."

Quote: Rood Eye @ 19th June 2019, 2:19 PM

I get the distinct impression that you're an absolute barrel of laughs, Kate - and exactly the sort of person TV companies should be employing to entertain the nation. Laughing out loud

Thank you -the BBC also hold this view, luckily for me!

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Rood Eye

  • Wednesday 19th June 2019, 2:45pm
  • England
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Seriously though, folks - I do actually think Kate is a talented writer.

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Lazzard

  • Wednesday 19th June 2019, 2:56pm
  • Ludlow, England
  • 4,476 posts

What if you write on your own?
Serious question.
No, frankly, it's all window-dressing - " ITV: We might not be funny, but at least we're fair."
In the article she states that only 1 in 10 script submissions were coming from women.
Well, if they couldn't knock out a half-decent comedy before, good luck with reducing the talent pool by 90%.

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Charlie Boy

  • Wednesday 19th June 2019, 11:23pm
  • Edinburgh, Scotland
  • 548 posts

I wish ITV would just pick talented writers, but I've seen their recent efforts for comedies, and big changes need to happen.

Quote: Lazzard @ 19th June 2019, 2:56 PM

What if you write on your own?
Serious question.
No, frankly, it's all window-dressing - " ITV: We might not be funny, but at least we're fair."
In the article she states that only 1 in 10 script submissions were coming from women.
Well, if they couldn't knock out a half-decent comedy before, good luck with reducing the talent pool by 90%.

What happens if its like a Monty Python type show, where the performers write the material?

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Rood Eye

  • Thursday 20th June 2019, 1:11am [Edited]
  • England
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My question to Saskia Schuster (head of ITV comedy) is "If ITV comedy is going to be produced on a 50-50 basis between men and women, is it not inherently ridiculous to have only one person as head of comedy? If your initiative is to have any credibility whatever, surely there must be joint heads - one male and one female?"

In reality, however, the situation is even more ridiculous than suggested above because what Saskia Schuster sees as a thoroughly modern, gender-equal approach to scriptwriting is in fact decidedly old-fashioned and gender-unequal because it acknowledges only two genders.

Only two genders?

That is so 20th century!

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Lazzard

  • Thursday 20th June 2019, 7:48am
  • Ludlow, England
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Quote: Charlie Boy @ 19th June 2019, 11:23 PM

What happens if its like a Monty Python type show, where the performers write the material?

I should imagine an all male ensemble would have trouble getting placed.
And I sort of understand that - it's important (or certainly current thinking) that the viewing public see 'themselves' reflected on the telly ie a mix of types
But who actually writes it? How can that matter?

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Rood Eye

  • Thursday 20th June 2019, 10:03am [Edited]
  • England
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Quote: Lazzard @ 20th June 2019, 7:48 AM


But who actually writes it? How can that matter?

Fundamentally, it matters in the same way that the gender/racial/sexual orientation/disability mix of employees at the BBC matters nowadays as much as the mix of people who appear on screen matters nowadays. That's the thinking behind it - but it seems Saskia Schuster hasn't actually thought it through.

It's a noble cause - I think we all might agree with that - but, if it's going to work, it can't be implemented in a ham-fisted manner such as insisting that in any office, or even in the canteen, no two people of the same gender, race, sexual orientation or level of disability should be allowed to sit together.

In any rational organisation that sought a 50-50 mix of male and female comedy writers, there'd be individual writers of each gender, there'd be all-male writing teams, there'd be all-female writing teams and there'd be mixed-gender writing teams. The important thing is that, overall, those individuals and teams would comprise an equal number of men and women.

It's only common sense, surely?

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Charlie Boy

  • Thursday 20th June 2019, 11:45am
  • Edinburgh, Scotland
  • 548 posts
Quote: garyd @ 18th June 2019, 12:22 PM

If for Writers Rooms only then fair enough.
However, the article seems to suggest this is to be an all-encompassing policy, e.g. "Last year, when reviewing the gender balance of sitcom scripts she was sent, she realised that for every script she received from a female writer, she got five from men." and "I won't commission anything with an all-male writing team."
Therefore this would seem to imply that ITV would no longer commission anything written by writing teams such as Marks and Gran or Clement and La Frenais, unless they agreed to being shadowed. Where, in Laurence Mark's kitchen?
I do get I am being very simplistic but I just don't see this as wholly positive.

How many maketh a Writing Room? 3? 4? More?

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kate to the party

  • Thursday 20th June 2019, 12:34pm [Edited]
  • England
  • 46 posts
Quote: Charlie Boy @ 20th June 2019, 11:45 AM

How many maketh a Writing Room? 3? 4? More?

Usually more, generally speaking.

Quote: Rood Eye @ 20th June 2019, 10:03 AM


It's a noble cause - I think we all might agree with that - but, if it's going to work, it can't be implemented in a ham-fisted manner such as insisting that in any office, or even in the canteen, no two people of the same gender, race, sexual orientation or level of disability should be allowed to sit together.

That's... not a thing? Literally no one is suggesting this.

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Charlie Boy

  • Thursday 20th June 2019, 12:47pm [Edited]
  • Edinburgh, Scotland
  • 548 posts
Quote: kate to the party @ 20th June 2019, 12:34 PM

Usually more, generally speaking.

So a FOUR MAN writing team seems to be acceptable, then?

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Rood Eye

  • Thursday 20th June 2019, 1:02pm [Edited]
  • England
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Quote: kate to the party @ 20th June 2019, 12:34 PM

Literally no one is suggesting this.

You're right. Mercifully, nobody is suggesting such a thing.

My point is that, as long as TV companies achieve their diversity and inclusion targets for personnel both on-screen and off, it matters little if some personnel occasionally congregate in groups of only one "category". I'm saying it would be a ham-fisted and indeed absurd approach to diversity and inclusion if it were against the rules for two people in the same category ever to work or eat lunch together, without including one or more members of another category in their activity.

However, that's what Saskia Schuster appears to be doing by refusing to commission work by all-male writing partnerships.

There is absolutely no reason why men or women writers should be made to work in mixed groups. For some writers, a mixed-gender writing group is an ideal situation but for other writers, it isn't. As long as half of ITV's comedy output is written by women and half by men, even the most zealous advocates of gender diversity should be happy, shouldn't they? What on earth does it matter if some of that output comes from individual writers, some comes from all-male writing teams, some comes from all-female writing teams and some comes from mixed-gender writing teams?

Indeed, it would be a controversial decision to commission scripts from male/female married couples and female/female married couples while steadfastly refusing all scripts from male/male married couples.

That's my problem with Saskia Schuster's idea: her motives are surely commendable but her implementation is straight out of Alice in Wonderland.

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kate to the party

  • Thursday 20th June 2019, 1:25pm [Edited]
  • England
  • 46 posts
Quote: Charlie Boy @ 20th June 2019, 12:47 PM

So a FOUR MAN writing team seems to be acceptable, then?

Four is still on the small side for a writers' room (although I guess it depends on the format of show?). Did you have four specific men in mind or is this a hypothetical? You could just add four women to that, then you've got a solid team of eight. Let them sit/eat lunch wherever they want and you're really cooking with gas.

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garyd

  • Thursday 20th June 2019, 3:04pm
  • England
  • 771 posts

But surely this is not treating 'people' equally, which apparently is the reasoning behind the move.
Diversity can, of course, be a good thing but it has to be applied appropriately and correctly.
I work for a local authority whose leaders some time ago decided that diversity was the way forward.
This meant that in some cases mid to senior management roles have not gone to plainly the right person and thus the service involved has obviously suffered accordingly, though the powers that be will not admit it or do anything to correct the error for fear of the policy being shown up as the pig's ear that it is.
The talented male comedy writers who are trying very hard to make it in the business deserve just as much opportunity as the equally talented women.
These men have nothing to do with how unfairly women or minorities may have been treated previously.
I believe that the best way to move forward is to have a positive policy of treating everyone the same e.g. fairly and let the cream of the talent rise to the top.
I realise that is a very unpopular view for some people and I may be doing myself no favours but I'm just peed off with it all.
I also am under no illusions about my comedy writing ability, or lack of it.