Thanks for such a warm welcome. I could almost feel at home…

In fact we’re not far from where I grew up in East London, but as a young man, I never thought I’d come here.

 

In fact as an older man, I never thought I’d come here. But Oona invited me to speak here today.

You know what she's like, she's a bit obsessed with diversity.

I told her to get out more, & stop watching TV.

Thing is, when you get out more, you see there's a disconnect

between the real world & TV world.

People in the TV world often aren't the same as people in the real world.

And there’s an even bigger gap between people who make TV, and people who watch TV. I should know, I live in the TV world.

And although there's a lot of reality TV, TV hasn't caught up with reality.

Change is coming, but it's taking its sweet time.

Why change?

1. Because the TV world helps SHAPE the real world. It’s also a window on our world. But when we look out the window, none of us live in Downton Abbey.

2. Because the creative industries are the foundation of Britain's future economy.

You guys want to safeguard Britain's economy, right? That's your job?

3. If you want to safeguard the economy, you have to safeguard the Creative Industries; and they rely on TALENT.

Talent is our lifeblood - we can't afford to WASTE it, or give it away.

But when you don't reflect the real world, too much talent is trashed.

Talent is everywhere, opportunity isn't.

And talent can’t reach opportunity.

Especially on our small island – that’s why British talent gets exported all over the world.

We haven’t done enough to nurture our diverse talent.

But before I go any further I want to say something really important:

I'm not here to talk about black people;

I’m here to talk about diversity.

Diversity in the modern world is more than just skin colour.

- it’s gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, social background, and - most important of all, as far as I’m concerned – diversity of thought.

Because if you have genuine diversity of thought among people making TV & film, then you won’t accidentally shut out any of the groups I just mentioned.

Anyway, on the whole, I don’t think of myself as just a ‘black actor’. I’m an actor, not a number. Just like anyone else.

Yo u know what I mean; all the MPs in the room,

(by the way, thanks so many of you for coming.

Oona tells me it’s really unusual to get 100 MPs to turn up, she says often she can’t even get one.)

But you guys know what I mean,