In News

Author, Actor and CBBC presenter, Cerrie Burnell has been named as the BBC’s first Disability Ambassador, a role created as part of the network’s new Creative Diversity Team, which has seen the creation of three new disability focussed roles.

The new roles have been designed to strengthen the BBC’s commitment to disability representation, both on and off air.

Actress, author and former CBBC presenter, Cerrie, will work closely with the commissioning and production teams over the next 12 months as part of this new role to champion an authentic on-screen portrayal of disability. Earlier this year, she presented a documentary on BBC 2 as part of the 25th anniversary of the Disability Discrimination Act programming.

Cerrie will join Kay Ashton MBE, the Creative Diversity Disability Lead and Nichola Garde, Project Manager of Elevate. Together, the three of them will report to Miranda Wayland, Head of Creative Diversity to create, develop, deliver and champion the BBC’s disability agenda as part of the broadcaster’s wider diversity strategy. The BBC continues to support the progression of disabled talent on the network through programmes such as the BBC Elevate and the Writers Access Group. BBC Elevate is an initiative which works to address the underrepresentation of disabled people working in production. They work to place candidates on a number of flagship BBC shows.

Speaking about the role, Cerrie Burnell, said: “I’m beyond excited to be working with the BBC to elevate disability narratives so they become integral to all storytelling and groundbreaking content in a deeply authentic and enlightening way.”

Miranda Wayland, Head of Creative Diversity, told reporters: “I’m absolutely thrilled to have the wealth of knowledge and expertise that Cerrie, Kay and Nichola bring to the team. Their appointments mark a significant step forward in the BBC’s commitment to driving increased representation of disabled talent, both on and off air.”

Kay Ashton MBE, BBC’s Creative Diversity Disability Lead, said: “I’ve lived with a disability all my life, so I know how important it is to see people with disabilities and our lives, portrayed accurately and authentically. We must continue to reframe how we represent people with disabilities and if the BBC is to lead the industry in all areas of creative diversity then we must make tangible changes now. I’m excited to get to work.”

Cerrie, Kay and Nichola will now join the BBC’s Creative diversity Unit led by June Sarpong, the BBC’s first Director of Creative Diversity. The BBC laid out its target to employ 50% women, at least 20% black, Asian or minority ethnic staff and at least 12% disabled people in September 2020 and since then have set out a number of communities to improve access and opportunities across the BBC.