Portraying the LGB community on the BBC
Today the BBC announced that it has commissioned a piece of research to help us gain a deeper understanding into how the lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) community are portrayed across all our services.
We will talk to audiences up and down the UK so that we get the widest range of views and opinions about how they think we're portraying LGB people across everything we do; whether it's television, radio or online
We'll ask people their views on language, tone, stereotyping, on screen talent, humour and scheduling to name just a few areas, and I'm sure will uncover many others that will deepen our understanding of you.
This is the most comprehensive piece of research ever carried out in this area by the BBC and we're doing it because, as a public service broadcaster, we have a responsibility to serve all of our audiences and it's vital that we reflect the differences among all of the UK's diverse communities, nations and regions.
The work- which is being conducted by research agency 2CV who have experience in in-depth audience research - will be supported by an online questionnaire which you will find at http://www.perceptor.com/perceplive/survey/bbc_lgb_portrayal. This questionnaire is open for anyone to answer and we are actively encouraging as many people as possible to participate and have their views recorded.
Additionally throughout the process we'll be in contact with LGB community organisations across the UK. In this way, through the research, via the online questionnaire and engaging with grass-root organisations we will hear from as many voices as possible.
This work is being driven by a pan-BBC Working Group on Portrayal and Inclusion of Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Audiences, which I chair. It was set up last year to examine how we portray this section of our diverse audience - in part because we know that LGB communities are concerned about how they are portrayed in the media - but also because the licence fee and our public purposes means it is our job to reflect the diversity of the nation and to do that well.
The remit of this working group reflects our overall diversity strategy and builds on similar work we have carried out in recent years with other distinct audience groups.
For example, last year we conducted audience research looking at disability portrayal and we are currently looking at regional audiences - all as part of our ongoing commitment to serve all licence-fee payers.
As part of an ongoing conversation we have with our audiences on a range of issues and topics we want and expect it to make a difference.
When the research findings are delivered this summer I think we can expect an in-depth - and perhaps surprising - reflection of your range of views on how we're serving you.
The findings will be embedded in programme making at the BBC - made available to all programme makers, commissioners and other key decision makers at the BBC to ensure that when we make editorial decisions that there is continued consideration of LGB storylines or characters based on the best information and research about what audiences want and expect.
We will also make recommendations to the BBC's Diversity Board, chaired by Mark Thompson, and we intend to publish a full report which will be made available widely.
Like all my colleagues on the working group, I am genuinely excited about the prospect of getting to that stage.
We are aware that people may have strong views, both positively and negatively, about how the BBC is portraying the LGB community across our services and that's why it's so important to hear what you're thinking. Only in this way can the BBC be part of a real step change in delivering accurate, authentic portrayals of LGB people's lives.
I look forward to sharing the research when it's complete. Until then I encourage you all to get involved, click on the link below and tell us what you think.