The BBC has announced a series of proposals to make "a tangible difference" in the number of people it employs from ethnic minority backgrounds.

Actor Lenny Henry, who has criticised the TV and film industry for not providing a "fair and honest reflection of our society", has signed up to a committee advising the corporation on its representation of ethnic minorities.

The star joins other names including Paralympian Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, former footballer Jason Roberts and TV presenter and Liberal Democrat peer Floella Benjamin on the panel which was announced today by BBC director-general Tony Hall.

The BBC said they would "advise and support the BBC on diversity".

Mr Hall said the BBC had "to do more" to increase ethnic minority representation on and off camera.

He said it would set up a new £2.1 million "diversity creative talent fund" to help "fast-track" shows by ethnic minority talent onto the screen and create a series of development programmes aimed at encouraging future commissioners and executives from ethnic minority backgrounds.

The director-general said he wanted to see ethnic minorities account for 15% of air talent in the next three years and said he would also set "local targets" in London, Birmingham, Manchester and Leicester to reflect the population of those cities.

He also said he wanted ethnic minorities to account for 15% of senior staff by 2020.

He said: "I want a new talent led approach that will help set the pace in the media industry. I believe in this and want our record to be beyond reproach. That won't be achieved overnight, but the package of measures I've put in place, alongside the support we'll get from leading experts, will make a tangible difference."

Simon Albury, who chairs the Campaign for Broadcasting Equality, said: "The BBC has announced a very substantial package of initiatives, which will drive significant and welcome improvement in BAME (Black, Asian and minority ethnic) representation at all levels. It is a huge step forward.

"My slight disappointment is that the Diversity Creative Talent Fund of £2.1 million amounts to no more than 0.12% of the BBC content budget of £1,789.1 million. If progress is slower than Tony Hall expects, this is an area where the Independent Diversity Action Group could look to see a significant increase."