Chris Bryant: Bafta needs to do more to reflect Britain’s ethnic diversity

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

Shadow Arts Minister Chris Bryant has criticised the “disturbing” lack of diversity in British film-making, after no black or ethnic minority performers were honoured at the Baftas.

Writing in the Independent, the senior Labour MP said: “Sitting in the amphitheatre of the Royal Opera House on Sunday evening way above the Bafta awards ceremony, it was difficult not to spot a glaring problem.

“Scanning the stalls, where 400 or so of Britain’s brightest and best film and television glitterati were seated, I could count barely a dozen non-white faces.

“The rest of the audience wasn’t much more diverse, either. We were an almost entirely Caucasian congregation, purporting to represent the cream of British culture.”

Mr Byant continued: “Yet Britain is diverse. It doesn’t have one face. It doesn’t have one accent. And it doesn’t have one colour of skin.

“So a British film without any ethnic diversity can hardly portray the full richness of modern Britain; and a British film industry without black, Asian or minority ethnic actors, designers, directors and cinematographers feels like an insulting throwback to a bygone era.”

Last month, Mr Bryant became embroiled in a row with James Blunt, after he listed the singer as one of the performers from a “privileged background” dominating the arts.

In response, the star accused Mr Bryant of “looking for votes” by “telling working class people that posh people like me don’t deserve it”.

Pride, a film about a group of gay and lesbian activists who rallied in support of striking miners in the 1980s, picked up the “Outstanding Debut” category at Sunday night’s Baftas.

However, it was the only award that the film managed to win – missing out on Outstanding British Film, to drama The Theory of Everything.

Pride actress Imelda Staunton also lost out in the Supporting Actress category, to Patricia Arquette for Boyhood.

Alan Turing biopic The Imitation Game did not win a single award at the ceremony, despite nine nominations.