A number of stars have put their name to a letter calling on UK broadcasters to improve their representation of ethnic minorities.

Among the stars to sign the letter – which was sent to BBC director general Tony Hall, ITV chief executive Adam Crozier, Channel 4 chief executive David Abraham, BSkyB chief executive Jeremy Darroch and Philippe Dauman, chief executive of Viacom – include Daniel Craig, Richard Curtis, Idris Elba, Neil Gaiman, Lenny Henry, Matt Lucas, Bill Nighy and many more.

“We the undersigned are writing you this open letter because together you are responsible for the most powerful broadcasting institutions in Britain and are therefore in a unique position to shape and form the future of British television,” reads the letter. "We are dismayed at the poor numbers of Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) people both on our screens and working behind the camera

“Today, only 5% of employees in our creative industries are BAME, despite BAME’s making up 12.5% of the total UK population.

“In order to redress this imbalance, we believe that the training, mentoring and development schemes recently announced, although welcome, are not sufficiently radical to effect significant change.

“We propose, therefore a solution that would almost immediately stimulate growth throughout the BAME creative community: a ring–fenced pot of money for BAME programmes.

“The effect of this fund would be to engender and encourage television that would reflect one of Britain’s greatest strengths; our diversity.

“Let us be clear about how this ring-fenced money would work. It is about quality of programming, not quantity: money is only spent when quality projects are identified – not to fill a quota. The major broadcasters have already set targets for the number of programmes produced outside London, and in the nations.

“To increase ethnic diversity we are asking you to look at what has worked before and extend it for BAME communities. Ring-fencing money would not only guarantee results, but also create a more stable space for BAME talent on screen and behind the camera.”

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