Writer Jack Thorne ( “Help”, “His Dark Materials”) has launched the pressure group Underlying Health Conditions (UHC) alongside “The Silence” star Genevieve Barr, production manager Katie Player (“Churchill) and producer Holly Luban, which will radically change the daily lives of disabled freelancers in the TV and movie industry.
The pressure group announcement follows what has been coined a “landmark disability report” that has urged the creation of two industry funds: one to upgrade studios and facilities and the other to help disabled freelancers.
The Disabled Freelancers Fund would be taken from a 0.1% levy on all HETV productions capped at £100,000 ($132,640) for shows above £5M ($6.6M), news site Deadline reported.
“It is modelled on the UK’s HETV Skills Fund, which similarly takes a 0.5% levy from these shows,” wrote Deadline’s Max Goldbart.
The separate Studio and Facilities Fund would aim to improve access issues with UK studios by installing disabled toilets, quiet rooms, ramps and clear signage, after Thorne used his MacTaggart to cite alarming stories of disabled people having to crawl across honey wagon floors, for example.
“Today’s Everyone Forgot About The Toilets report into disability in UK TV also called for mandatory Accessibility Co-ordinators on high-end productions, who would work similarly to Intimacy Co-ordinators, along with a line in every high-end TV (HETV) production budget [USD5,000] for reasonable adjustments,” Deadline reported.
The report was issued at an event to mark International Day Of Persons With Disabilities and follows Help and His Dark Materials writer Thorne’s blistering August MacTaggart address at the Edinburgh TV Festival, in which he slammed the UK TV industry for “utterly and totally failing disabled people.”
Watch the video below in this Twitter post to hear of personal accounts:
According to Variety, the report was based on surveys completed over the past six months by people working for or on behalf of studios and facilities companies. Here are some of the findings:
- There is only one facilities company in the whole of the UK (that responded) with an accessible toilet facility – meaning that only one production in the UK taking place at any time can provide disabled professionals with access to a toilet;
- 78.8% of UK studios don’t have a hazard warning surface at the top of stairwells to prevent the blind or visually impaired from injuring themselves;
- 90.9% of studios do not have tactile buttons, signs or maps to allow people to navigate spaces independently.