Sir Lenny Henry called for tax-free TV and films to increase diversity


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The letter said diversity in some parts of the industry was "in crisis"

Sir Lenny Henry will send a letter to 10 Downing Street in an effort to increase the number of women, BAME and disabled people who work on film and TV.

The letter requested tax relief to help increase diversity behind the camera. Actor Adrian Lester will submit the letter to Sir Lenny at 14:00 GMT.

Other signatories include Chiwetel Ejiofor, Thandie Newton, David Oyelowo, Dame Emma Thompson and Jodie Whittaker.

"What we are asking for is a chair at the table," Sir Lenny told BBC News.

"We are still in a situation where we might not get a job because of the way we look, or someone feels that our education doesn't get scratched, or we won't even go in for an interview.

"For me, if there is a structure that says, if you choose to do this, you will get a tax break – people understand that – and these things benefit the industry and bring in more money.

"All we ask is a seat at the table, but at this moment, we are still behind the door like Dickensian children and it needs to be stopped."

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The letter said "talented women, BAME, and defective creatives in the UK … enriched British creativity and added to our cultural heritage, but unfortunately they continue to be an exception rather than a rule".

He added: "We believe the implementation of the Tax Assistance Representative is needed because of diversity in important parts of British film and the television industry is in crisis."

The letter also explained statistics for representation of women and BAME and disabled people as "shocking," and cited a report by the British Directors, who found that only 2% of British television was made by directors from BAME's background.

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