In many ways, UK television has been a great national success story, making a substantial contribution to GDP while setting the standard, internationally, for high quality content.  However this success has been at the expense of those who work in the industry - who frequently experience working conditions that would not be tolerated in any other industry.

The front cover of the State of Play report

Last minute job bookings – and last minute cancellations; extended hours without breaks or compensation; discrimination; nepotism; sexual harrassment; and workplace bullying – all of these have come to characterise the working lives of the freelance staff who are the creative life-blood of British television. 

The Covid-19 pandemic has been the last straw for many as they joined the steady flow of skilled professionals leaving the industry.

Based on a survey of almost 1,200 television production professionals, this report reveals management and recruitment practices that are not only unethical and damaging to individuals, but damaging to the sustained commercial and creative success of the industry - impacting, as they do, on the mental health, diversity and skills-base of the workforce. 

This report calls on the industry to put in place practical measures that reflect the good intentions articulated in so many company mission statements – to offer decent, equitable working conditions for those who make the content of which the UK is rightly proud.

The State of Play project was undertaken in conjunction with union Bectu and Viva La PD, a community of freelance TV producers and directors in the UK. 

Download the State of Play report (pdf, 1.8mb)

of television professionals claim to have experienced incidents of bullying or harassment in the workplace.
of people working in TV would like to see agreed minimum standards for hours, overtime, health and safety and welfare for freelancer staff

Marcus Ryder MBE

CEO of the Film and Television Charity, on the State of Play report

It is time to take stock of what is happening in the industry we love and implement the policies that are needed to make a positive change. This valuable report will help us to do exactly that.

Key publications

Related projects