A woman standing outside of the entrance to a cinema.

Our history

Almost a century of extraordinary people

Our History

The Film and TV Charity was founded as a benevolent fund that cared for its own, and over the past almost 100 years, has helped people overcome a spectrum of personal and professional challenges.  

In the 20th Century, our renowned fundraising Royal Film Performances were attended by film stars and members of the Royal Family, including the late Queen, HM Queen Elizabeth II. In more recent memory, the need to improve work-life balance and working culture mean that we need to work together to create a more supportive and diverse industry behind the scenes.  

We launched our 24-hour Film and TV Support Line, offering access to legal and financial advice and counselling to anyone who needs it. Acting on the insight gained through this confidential service, our Looking Glass research in 2019 uncovered a mental health crisis. In response, we launched the Whole Picture Programme, backed by a Taskforce committed to building an industry that respects, values and supports its behind-the-scenes workforce.

We rapidly responded to the impact of Covid-19 and the shutdown of production and cinemas across the UK, launching an emergency fund and helping to keep the community connected during lockdown. Seeing the disproportionate effect of the pandemic on underrepresented communities in our industry and recognising a need to take positive action, the charity ringfenced 30% of its grants for Black, Asian and ethnic minority beneficiaries.

This year saw the launch of our Bullying Pathway Service, which is unique in offering confidential and industry-specific legal, HR, and mental health support for anyone who has experienced or witnessed bullying or harassment.  

Our work is more relevant than ever, as we support thousands of people in an enormous variety of roles, collaborating with industry partners and adapting to changing needs, with your support. 

As we move towards our Centenary in 2024, we are keeping our eyes on our goals: ensuring that everyone who works behind the scenes in film, TV and cinema feels supported – and that we enable our diverse and extraordinary community to thrive.  

We’ve remained independent, and continue to rely on the industry and individuals to fund our insights and growing range of practical, accessible, confidential support and resources.



Our current Vice-Patrons: 

Anne Bennett, Debbie Chalet, Derek Cooper, Stan Fishman CBE, Sir Paul Fox CBE, Lord Grade CBE, Steve Jaggs, Barry Jenkins OBE, Ian Lewis, David McCall CBE, David Murrell, Sir Alan Parker CBE, Denise Parkinson, Lord Puttnam CBE, Sir Sidney Samuelson CBE, Jeremy Thomas CBE.


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