EXCLUSIVE: The Red Nose Day showrunner has urged crew on the iconic BBC charity telethon to “make a fuss” about misconduct as part of BBC Studios’ efforts to pre-empt inappropriate behavior on its shows.
Deadline has obtained audio of Peter Davey delivering what has become known as “the pledge” to gathered crew and presenters on Thursday morning. Listen to an excerpt below.
The idea, first introduced last August, is that the pledge is read out at the start of each BBC Studios production to encourage respectful and inclusive behavior, and make clear that wrongdoing should be reported.
There is no suggestion of any concerns relating to Red Nose Day, but sources said they felt reassured by Davey’s address ahead of the show going live on BBC1 on Friday night. The program raises money for Comic Relief, the charity founded by Love Actually director Richard Curtis.
“We’ve got a very important message to set the tone and the values of the production,” Davey said. “It’s a pledge from us the senior team to make sure everyone is properly looked after.”
Davey then proceeded to read the pledge in full: “We want BBC Studios to be a safe place for every person that works here. At all times, we expect everyone, whoever they are, to behave in a respectful and inclusive way.
“Every individual should be treated equally regardless of their age, disability, sexuality, gender, race, religion or belief, marital or employment status. At the BBC, we expect everyone to read and adhere to our code of conduct.”
He said senior producers were committed to creating a culture of “inclusion and respect,” and that colleagues who raise concerns will be “fully supported” and their complaints will be “followed up in a timely and satisfactory manner.”
Davey added: “I don’t want anyone feeling they can’t do it because they don’t want to make a fuss. Please make a fuss. We will act on things if we hear things but we can’t act on things unless we know. So please just let us know.”
He said that the message was particularly important for those who work in the Red Nose Day production office because they are at the “pointy end of all the stress.”
BBC Studios said: “It’s great that Peter shared his commitment to the pledge with the production team working on Comic Relief 2023. The pledge is in place to make clear our expectations around behaviour and culture. We’re proud to have initiated it across our entire production business and the feedback on its use has been extremely positive.”
“And as we said in August last year – since 2021, The Pledge has been empowering our senior production leaders to take responsibility for behaviour on their sets and encourage accountability. It provides clarity and support to all team members – whether on or off-screen – as it outlines who is responsible for managing behavioural issues or concerns.”
Red Nose Day, also known as Comic Relief, goes live at 7PM from MediaCityUK in Salford. David Tennant and Joel Dommett, host of The Masked Singer UK, are among those presenting the show.