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Helping make the TV industry more accessible to Disabled talent

Liam and Tracey Proudlock sat in front of the Sky Studios Elstree during training for the TV Access Project

A vision where no Disabled talent is ever excluded because barriers have been removed and equity created. That’s the goal of the TV Access Project (TAP), a project which Proudlock Associates are delighted to be involved with.  

First launched, in August 2022 in response to the Underlying Health Condition campaign demanding the development of industry standards for inclusivity in TV studios, TAP is a growing alliance of currently 10+ of the UK’s biggest broadcasters and streamers, including SKY, ITV, the BBC, and Amazon Prime Video. Their goal is to create full inclusion for Deaf, Disabled and Neurodivergent talent by 2030.

What makes this project particularly ground-breaking is its desire to co-create with both disabled people and the wider industry to deliver sustainable solutions which everyone supports. It’s why we are so pleased to be working in co-production with industry leaders and creatives on this pioneering project. 

Comprehensive guidance for all 

Liam Proudlock with a clip board in front of a bank of TV monitors and chairs making notes.

Proudlock’s first role was to provide our insight and expertise to help create the TAP Audit Checklist. 

The Audit Checklist provides a comprehensive guide to enable businesses to assess their own access barriers and outlines best practice guidance to remove them in buildings and spaces associated with TV and film studios, post-production, and office environments. As this checklist was co-created with disabled people it means many best practice recommendations are included that go beyond regulations and standards. The Underlying Health Condition campaign report wasn’t called ‘Everyone forgot about the toilets’ for nothing!  

Covering everything from arrival, signage and doors to flexible workspaces, recognising neurodiversity and building management, the Checklist focuses on delivering sustainable solutions and also incorporates links to the relevant building regulations and approved documents that detail how to achieve the required standard. 

It also provides advice such as adding dropped kerbs for wheelchair users but allowing a raised kerb for taxi ramps in the appropriate place too, providing correctly designed and suitably located accessible car parking spaces, ensuring visual contrast on steps, and the inclusion of a quiet areas or rooms in a building.  

The Checklist is a significant step in helping TV and film studios remove barriers, many of which they may never even have considered.   

A milestone moment 

Liam Proudlock with a tape measure measuring the height of switches at a TV studio

While the purpose of the Checklist is to give companies all the tools they need to carry out their own self-assessed access audits, Proudlock were also asked to run some training sessions to introduce the studios to its content and how to use it. 

Hailed as a ‘milestone moment’ by TAP in a recent  Broadcast magazine article, the first training session took place at Sky Studios Elstree earlier this month and was attended by 3 Mills Studios, Ealing Studios, Stage Fifty, Warner Bros Leavesden, BBC Studio Works, Fifty Fifty Post and Envy Post. 

Reflecting the whole ethos of this project, the session wasn’t about merely informing people about how to audit their own spaces, but rather about involving them in the process and encouraging them to ask questions and voice concerns. Our aim was to help them feel empowered to make changes and to really understand how small, but significant, adjustments can make the world of difference to Deaf, Disabled and Neurodivergent talent.  We were delighted when Sky Studios Elstree’s director of operations Tom Avison called the process “incredibly collaborative” and hope the three training sessions scheduled for the new year elicit the same response.   

There is no doubt that this project is ground-breaking. As well as developing and creating sustainable solutions for full inclusion in the television industry, it’s also an example of what co-production can really achieve. And when we learnt one of the University Challenge Christmas specials had been axed over lack of support for disabled contestants, we know achieving everything the TV Access Project aims to accomplish couldn’t come soon enough.