All supporting actors need criminal check

All walk-on and supporting actors for the main TV companies now require a basic criminal records check. They need this for any production on which an under-18 will be on set, at any point and for any length of time. (A 17-year old on the set for a few minutes will require everyone in the whole production to be checked. The whole production will need to be checked if there is a chance that an under-18 might at some point contribute ‘as a result of last-minute changes to the schedule’.)

The actor will have to pay the £25 check fee themselves and give the certificate to their agent. Otherwise they cannot work on any production where an under-18 is or may be present.

Bizarrely, the TV companies also require checks for those actors who are 16 and over. So a 16-year actor would need to be checked to work with other 16-year old actors (as they would with him).

This shows how the demand for vetting as back-covering outstrips any legal or sensible requirements. The TV companies are asking for checks that are not required by law, which is why they are having to run basic (not enhanced) checks, through Disclosure Scotland (rather than the Disclosure and Barring Service).

The person who sent us this story commented:

For one thing, all children working on productions in the UK automatically have adult chaperones with them and for another, a BASIC check won’t give them any information that might be relevant, such as for example the fact that an actor might have been complained about on a previous production.

This is about the ritual of security – spreading mistrust and piling up paperwork – rather than achieving anything substantial.