Channel 4 and the BBC have appointed two of the industry’s most experienced practitioners to lead and manage the TV Access Project (TAP). Ally Castle and Tanya Motie have been hired as Project Leads to work with TAP’s members to co-ordinate plans and prioritise recommendations, in roles which have been funded by Channel 4 and the BBC.
The TV Access Project was launched at last year’s Edinburgh Festival, and is a coalition of ten of the UK’s biggest broadcasters and streamers who have pledged to work together to deliver real improvements in access for disabled talent across the TV industry.
Chief Content Officer at Channel 4 Ian Katz said: “Ally and Tanya command huge respect. They are a pair of formidable change-makers, and are the perfect choice to help us use our combined weight to deliver the change we so urgently need in this industry.”
The BBC’s Charlotte Moore said: “The TV Access Project aims to significantly improve access provision for disabled talent across the TV industry. I know that Ally and Tanya will bring all their experience and networks to this vital task, and we’re excited to have them on board.”
The TV Access Project (TAP) was created by Channel 4, the BBC, ITV, Paramount, Sky, Netflix, Amazon, Britbox, UKTV and Disney, with support from PACT and the Creative Diversity Network and in partnership with disability-interest groups including Deaf & Disabled People in TV (DDPTV), FWD-Doc, TripleC/DANC and Bridge06.
Ally Castle is Channel 4’s Creative Disability Consultant, helping commissioners and independent producers grow the Channel’s disability inclusion both on and off-screen. Last Summer she devised Channel 4’s new Disability Code of Portrayal, a manifesto for how the broadcaster would build on its legacy of game changing representation of disability on screen. She was named in the 2021 Shaw Trust Disability Power 100, and works as a Consultant on both disability access and creative strategy in TV and beyond.
Tanya Motie is an experienced Executive Producer and Consultant, advising the sector on how to achieve authentic portrayal. She has worked in the broadcast industry for over 35 years, having started in the BBC World Service and Radio 4 before moving to News and Current Affairs and then BBC Children’s. Tanya became a Commissioning Exec before moving to BBC One and BBC Three as the Channel Exec, where she worked with Jay Hunt, Danny Cohen and Zai Bennett. Now a Consultant, Tanya continues to mentor people from under-represented backgrounds in TV. Working with her creative collaborator Liz Carr she recently devised The Fundamentals, a set of commitments that disabled creatives can use in contract negotiations. Ally and Tanya will work for TAP for a day a week each, and will be supported by Becky Bailey from CBBC.
Ally Castle said the new role has special significance for her. “Twenty years ago Tanya gave me my first ever job in TV in the BBC’s Extend Scheme on CBBC’s Xchange, and she has been a great mentor and role model throughout my career. To be working with her again means so much; she is a true industry pioneer. I am also thrilled for the opportunity to co-lead a project which I believe can bring about much-needed permanent, tangible change in the broadcasting world, for disabled talent. There is such great momentum and commitment across the industry, thanks to TAP.”
Tanya Motie said: “These are exciting times with disabled professionals and industry leaders coming together to find solutions. Ally Castle and Rachel Jupp at the BBC have overseen an extraordinary collaboration which has resulted in an ambitious plan to remove barriers and ensure that television is open and accessible. It’s wonderful to be reunited with the exceptional Ally and I’m looking forward to working with her and other committed people to create inclusive, sustainable change.”
Ally and Tanya will be assisted by Becky Bailey from CBBC who will provide admin support.
TAP was set up in response to the campaign by Underlying Health Condition (UHC), which was founded by disabled creatives Genevieve Barr, Katie Player and Holly Lubran along with screenwriter Jack Thorne, following his impassioned McTaggart Lecture at Edinburgh TV Festival in 2021.