Coronation Street needs more diversity both onscreen and behind the camera, it’s producer, Kate Oates has admitted.
Oates, who took over as boss of the ITV soap last year, told Radio Times:
“In terms of reflecting diversity and showing black and Asian characters, yes, we absolutely need to do
more of it. And we need more black and Asian writers, to bring out the truth of those voices.”
“It’s important to keep the show strong and relevant, so that it’s running long after everyone’s forgotten who I am.”
In 2014, the first Muslim family were introduced to Britain’s longest running soap, while scriptwriter Jonathan Harvey asked for more diversity in Coronation Street in December 2016.
Harvey, who wrote more than 250 episodes of the soap, said: “It could certainly do with having a better racial mix.”
“It’s supposed to represent the world and life.”
“There’s lots of things you try – you don’t always get them right, but you should always be striving.”
A source from the show told The Mirror that of 70 or so regular characters, just a dozen are black, Asian or minority ethnic (BAME) – around 17 per cent of the completed cast.
Oates also told the publication that strong female characters would be at the
“The presence of strong women was the backbone of the show as Tony Warren created it,” she said. “On Emmerdale, I was uncomfortably aware that I’d been responsible for the deaths of a number of women characters and I didn’t want to repeat that.
“I did feel like I was punishing the women … so on Coronation Street, I wanted to see the characters face trauma, but to come out the other end. There had to be journeys of triumph and strength.”
A spokesman for Ofcom said improving diversity behind the camera and in front was crucial for the regulator.
He said it was closely monitoring diversity in the workforce’s of all broadcasters and that it would consider setting targets for off-screen diversity, as well as on-screen.