Stars including Idris Elba and Lenny Henry have told TV bosses they are "dismayed" at the poor numbers of people from ethnic minority backgrounds working in the industry and demanded money be set aside to improve the situation.

Figures including Broadchurch writer Chris Chibnall, comic Harry Hill and actor David Harewood signed an open letter calling for "a ring-fenced pot of money" for black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) programmes.

They say: "We are dismayed at the poor numbers of black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) people both on our screens and working behind the camera.

"Today, only 5% of employees in our creative industries are BAME, despite BAME's making up 12.5% of the total UK population."

The letter, which was sent to BBC director general Tony Hall, ITV chief executive Adam Crozier, and the bosses of BSkyB, Channel 4 and Channel 5, was also signed by film-maker Richard Curtis and Baroness Doreen Lawrence.

It comes after Mr Hall announced a plan to set up a £2.1 million "diversity creative talent fund" to help fast-track shows by ethnic minority talent on to the screen and create a series of development programmes at the BBC.

The signatories to the letter said such plans were "welcome" but "not sufficiently radical to effect significant change".