Channel 4 names creative diversity and disability lead
Channel 4 has appointed Ally Castle as its creative diversity and disability lead.
In this newly created role, Castle will lead on and deliver the disability focused strategic plans as part of the channel’s Creative Diversity strategy.
Castle will report into the head of creative diversity, Babita Bahal, and will work closely with independent producers and commissioning teams within Channel 4 to increase disability representation both on and off screen, as well as ensuring the quality of authentic portrayal.
Prior to joining Channel 4, Castle worked as an independent disability consultant and creative strategist, working with clients including Sony Pictures Television, ITV, Nickelodeon, BBC Studios, A&E Networks, ScreenSkills, BBC and Disney.
Castle will now also continue to build upon Channel 4’s success as the Paralympic broadcaster by supporting the delivery of Tokyo 2021. She will then help to deliver an on and off screen vision for Paris 2024, while working closely with training bodies and independent producers to ensure progression for disabled talent working across the Paralympics and related programming.
The role is one of three new roles, set-up as part of an expansion to Channel 4’s Creative Diversity team. The other roles currently being advertised include a creative diversity lead and creative diversity co-ordinator.
Channel 4’s Bahal, said: “We need more targeted collaboration at every level to achieve greater inclusion of disabled people on and off screen. We want to see more disabled talent working and progressing in TV and to ensure portrayals are effortlessly and consistently authentic and challenge perceptions.
"Ally’s outstanding experience and expertise will help to accelerate our work. Ally brings a unique breadth of skills and experience as a former programme-maker, creative strategist and disability consultant working across the industry and we are thrilled she is joining us at such a crucial and exciting time”.
Castle, who starts her role at Channel 4 in March on an initial 12-month contract said: “I am thrilled to be joining Channel 4 to help grow its legacy of ground-breaking disability representation and inclusion. Our industry is at a turning point when it comes to the fair portrayal of all typically under or misrepresented groups, as well as the genuine inclusion of disabled talent across our productions.
"I look forward to working both on and off screen at Channel 4 to continue to move far beyond stereotypes, tropes and assumptions to ensure disabled people tell their own powerful, nuanced stories and audiences connect with a wide range of authentic disabled experiences.”
Last year, Channel 4 set out a number of commitments to improving disability. Off screen, the broadcaster committed to doubling its workforce disability target from 6 to 12% by 2023, as well as a commitment to the CDN’s Doubling Disability plan to achieve 9% representation off screen. On screen, Channel 4 has made a commitment to achieve 9% representation by 2023. It also continues to monitor and ensure disabled representation in the channel’s top 100 shows.