In this episode of The Speakeasier we're joined by Marcus Ryder MBE. Formerly Chair of the Royal Television Society’s Diversity Committee, Marcus has over twenty-five years’ experience working in television and journalism and is a leader on the issue of diversity in the media, making him a more-than-credible Speakeasier guest. We say this even before acknowledging his impressive portfolio of awards to date, including multiple BAFTAs and an MBE for services to diversity in the media. As if all that wasn’t enough, he was recently named Head of External Consultancies at the Sir Lenny Henry Centre for Media Diversity at Birmingham City University.
While we can expect plenty more from Marcus in the future, already this year he has released a new book, Access All Areas - The Diversity Manifesto for TV and Beyond with Sir Lenny Henry. Combining the expertise and experience of the two, it has been considered a revolutionary manifesto, revealing why diversity in the media has such significance and how we can set about strengthening it.
We chatted to Marcus about what he thinks about terms such as ‘BAME’ and ‘diversity'. In fact, despite including the word 'diversity' in the title of his recent book, he actually thinks it's overused and that it often covers up much deeper issues, with a direct correlation between the uptake of the word 'diversity' and the downplaying of racism.
We also talk about the history of language, where Marcus helps us understand why small adaptations are often representative of a much bigger historical narrative.
Moving from language to the physical representation, we discuss the importance of representing an authentic picture of Britain, which Marcus reminds us is typically shown as white, heterosexual, able-bodied, cisgender and male, despite that making up only 3% of the nation’s capital.