Killing Eve's Sandra Oh says the UK's TV and film industries are "behind" in regards to diversity

Megan Sutton
Photo credit: BBC

From Good Housekeeping

Killing Eve star Sandra Oh has spoken about her experience of sometimes being the sole person of colour on the set of the popular BBC show, and more generally about how the UK is "behind" when it comes to diversity and representation in the TV and film industry.

The Canadian-American actor, whose parents moved from South Korea to Canada in the 1960s, made the comments as part of Variety's Actors on Actors series, in conversation with Kerry Washington.

When Kerry asked Sandra about her experience of being the "sole Asian person" on set for many of her projects, the Killing Eve star singled out the UK for being "behind" on diversity.

Photo credit: BBC

“Being the sole Asian person is a very familiar place for me," she started off by saying.

"But the UK, I’m not afraid to say, is behind. I’m not only the only Asian person on set - sometimes it changes, [it’s] very exciting when someone comes on set - but the development of people behind the camera is very slow in the UK."

“Sometimes it would be me and 75 white people," she added.

Sandra, who has played Killing Eve's increasingly maverick Eve Polastri for three seasons, stated that this experience is something she hasn't always known, coming from more projects with more diverse casts and crews.

Photo credit: BBC

“I have not come from that in my film career, which has been much more independent. Mostly working with women and women of colour and my relationship with television - and in the United States - hasn’t necessarily been all white," she said.

Referring to filming Killing Eve, she said: “I’ve got to tell you. Even more than that, I think being the only American on that set, in Europe, informed me more than the physicality. I’ve not even really talked about this, but there is something about constantly feeling like the observer or the outsider.”

The BBC recently pledged to increase diversity by investing £100m of its TV budget over a three year period from April 2021 to produce "diverse and inclusive content."

The broadcaster has set itself a mandatory target that 20% of off-screen talent must come from under-represented groups including those with a disability, people from a BAME background, and those from a disadvantaged socio-economic background.

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