But the show has now been accused of falling behind in one important area: the diversity of its production crew. In past series creator and scriptwriter Jed Mercurio has been applauded for the number of women and black and Asian actors he used in prominent roles. So fans were shocked by a picture released to coincide with the end of the series revealing a mainly male and entirely white crew.
TV producer and Channel 5 newsreader Marverine Cole led the reaction, saying: “I love this show. I truly do. But is this really the entire crew for this show?!
“If so why weren’t you able to source any black or Asian or mixed crew World Production [the show’s maker]? There are swathes of trained BAME [black, Asian, minority ethnic] production crew in this country.”
The backlash will sting the BBC which is proud of its on-screen diversity but comments little about off-screen moves.
DandI, which campaigns for greater diversity, said it was “great to see the crew behind Line Of Duty but not the best example of diversity and inclusion.
“Perhaps we could help World Productions on their next production?” Others were more direct suggesting they were “shocked” that there was “zero diversity”. Novelist Bernardine Evaristo said on Twitter: “Good to see diversity in the BBC is alive and well with a crew that’s 85 per male and 100 per cent white.”
Lawyer and activist Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu said: “Why are there only white people & no BAME in the cast/crew pic? In age of diversity and inclusion equality in opportunities and outcomes, this line up of Line Of Duty is disappointing.”
However, the Creative Diversity Network, funded by the UK’s major broadcasters to promote and celebrate diversity, said it was not just about colour. Chief executive Deborah Williams said: “Diversity isn’t just about race: being gay, disabled, trans or religious might not be obvious from just looking at a photograph.
“Our monitoring shows while on-screen roles by-and-large represent the diversity of the UK population, there is a lot more work to do to ensure people who make programmes are equally representative.”
But one TV producer with many hits rejected the criticism, saying: “I think it’s unfair and Jed has done a lot to promote minorities in different ways. The on-screen use of minorities is good. Furthermore it may have something to do with the fact that they shoot it in Northern Ireland.”
A BBC spokesman said: “The BBC is committed to improving diversity both on and off screen.
“This includes reflecting the diversity of the UK and its nations and regions. Line of Duty is filmed in Northern Ireland.”
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