Channel 4 announces Ally Castle as new Creative Diversity and Disability Lead

Channel 4 has announced that it has appointed Ally Castle as its new Creative Diversity and Disability Lead.

In this newly created role, Ally will lead on and deliver the disability focused strategic plans as part of the channel’s Creative Diversity strategy.

Ally 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. She will also help to achieve targets and commitments laid out in the Channel 4 360 Diversity Charter, the Valuable 500 Commitment, the CDN’s industry-wide commitment to Doubling Disability behind the camera and the channel’s own commitment to increasing representation onscreen.

Ally will also continue to build upon the channel’s success as the Paralympic broadcaster by supporting the delivery of Tokyo 2021 and 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. 

This 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 Coordinator based in the Nations and Regions.

Babita Bahal, Head of Creative Diversity at Channel 4, 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”.

Ally, who will join Channel 4 at the beginning of March 2021 on an initial 12-month contract said: “I am thrilled to be joining Channel 4 to help grow their 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.”

Prior to joining Channel 4, Ally 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.

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.

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