The privilege of going "uninvited into people's homes" governed ITV's decision to pull the final episode of Noel Clarke drama Viewpoint, according to managing director Kevin Lygo.
Interviewed for the Edinburgh TV Festival, Lygo acknowledged the complexity of addressing allegations of misconduct, pointing out that ITV has guidelines for producers. But he said the scale and public awareness of the allegations made it "quite a loaded decision" to make.
"We thought it best to take it off the main channel," he said. "The great glory of being a PSB is that you're invited into people's homes - [they've not made] a choice to go out and seek something and people will be offended."
Lygo said making the series available on ITV Player was the best compromise at the time. "Millions were invested in it, and something like 200 people worked on the drama, it's not right that their work wouldn't be seen due to alleged bad behaviour."
The executive said the industry "needs to make it easier for people to complain about this behaviour in a protected safe environment".
Meanwhile, he praised Jack Thorne's MacTaggart speech as the latest in a line of Edinburgh talks that galvanise the industry to improve. While not going as far as his Channel 4 peer Ian Katz in committing to commission a drama from a disabled writer, he said he backed quotas as a means of making long-term change.
"There have been good intentions, but progress has moved too slowly," he said. "That's the case with diversity, and is clearly the case with disability, I don’t mind quotas to drive the behaviour of everyone in the business."
He supported Thorne's suggestion that drama schools adopt quotas of disabled people. "This will help the supply later. It’s a longer-term issue – we want to fix it right now but we can’t. We can do more now but this has to be a continuing proposition for everybody."
Diversity in commissioning
Lygo said ITV's hiring freeze, brought on by Covid, had led the broadcaster to miss its aim of hiring commissioning editor posts filled by BAME candidates.
At last year's festival, Lygo announced: "In six months to one year, I am confident our commissioning and opinion-forming make-up will be much more diverse ... there will be more interesting decisions about who works on our programmes and who is fronting them.”
Pressed on this today, he said that due to the pandemic, ITV had not recruited anyone, including these commissioning editors. "I absolutely intend to honour that commitment - but it'll be next year now."