The BBC must be made to ensure its programmes and staff reflect the UK's diversity, a Labour former culture minister has said.

David Lammy criticised the corporation for hiring the "same old faces, from the same old schools to the same old jobs" and warned he believes it is in "trouble".

The MP for Tottenham hit out at the lack of progress in boosting black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) representation within the BBC, suggesting many employees fear they will be labelled a "troublemaker" if they speak up.

Mr Lammy added the BBC's new charter must redress the issue and prevent people from BAME backgrounds turning to "mother tongue cable stations" as they are not represented by the public broadcaster, noting the UK's Chinese community is "totally invisible".

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Leading a debate on BBC diversity, Mr Lammy said: "I am a friend of the BBC. I love its output. But today my remarks are strong because I think my friend is in trouble.

"Too many people from ethnic minority backgrounds working in the organisation have contacted my office over the last few weeks to say that they cannot speak up because they do not want to be labelled a troublemaker.

"Well, I've got no problem being called a troublemaker, and that's why I and so many colleagues are in this House to speak up on their behalf."

Mr Lammy said the BBC ran 29 initiatives aimed at black and ethnic minorities between 1999 and 2014, although he warned the situation is not improving.

MPs heard the total proportion of the BBC's workforce that was from a BAME background was 12.2% compared with 13.1% in 2015.

But Mr Lammy voiced concerns about the lack of diversity in management roles.

He said: "We all go into Broadcasting House and see the security, see black staff at the junior ends, but walk into that newsroom, think about the editorial decisions that are being made, and ask yourself, is that really representative of our country as a whole?"

Mr Lammy praised the diversity of children's television, BBC Three and documentaries, but said: "Let's take the headlines around the BBC's new drama Undercover - it's a great drama.

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"But they announced with great fanfare 'the first time we've had a drama with two black leads' in 2016.

"That wasn't news in the 20th century, let alone this century.

"And I've got to ask, on current affairs - I love sitting next to Andrew Neil on a Thursday night occasionally, when I'm standing in for Diane Abbott.

"Andrew Marr is a great guy, John Humphrys, David Dimbleby - when they allow me on the show, and they haven't done that for almost five years - but the point is, these are white patrician men.

"What does it communicate about our country? That they can't be a voice that's not a southern voice? That they can't be a woman? That they can't be someone who is diverse?

"These are the arbiters of our current affairs in this country. We have to be brave, to hold our public broadcaster to account and not just appoint the same old faces, from the same old schools to the same old jobs.

"It's not acceptable for a public broadcaster that takes licence payers' money from all of our constituents, so we hold them to account and say yes, these individuals are brilliant, but more needs to be done to get that diversity across the spectrum.

"A lot of this comes back to senior management and the systemic change that really matters."

Mr Lammy said he wants ministers to put diversity "front and centre" of the debates surrounding the new BBC charter.

He explained: "A new public purpose should be written in to the new BBC Charter, including a specific commitment to accurately reflect the diversity of the UK in its on-screen and off-screen workforce and in its programming, including but not limited to, promoting equal opportunities irrespective of age, gender, race, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation or gender reassignment.

"It is time to update the BBC's founding mission for the 21st century so that it becomes 'to inform, educate, entertain and reflect', and writing diversity into the heart of the charter would be a bold first step."

Mr Lammy also said: "We cannot have people from BAME backgrounds turning to mother tongue cable stations because they are not seeing themselves represented on the BBC.

"And let's take the Chinese community in this country. My God, a community that's been here for more than 100 years - talk about invisible, not just in this House, although I recognise the Government has made some progress on their benches, but totally invisible on our broadcaster.

"So time has come for change."

Prime Minister David Cameron announced measures last year for companies to introduce so-called "blind" recruitment for graduates as part of a bid to end discrimination.

Under the plans companies that subscribe would select people for interview without knowing their name.

Helen Grant, the Tory MP for Maidstone and The Weald, backed the idea but suggested the BBC, which is on board with the proposals, could go "even further".

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"They could disclose on a voluntary basis detailed BME data on recruitment, retention, promotion and pay," she said.

"This type of transparency not only helps to focus the mind but it also sets a great example for others to follow."

Meanwhile, Clive Lewis, the former journalist and Labour MP for Norwich South, suggested that more than just names should be redacted from applications.

Intervening, he said: "Would you agree with me that there would also be some benefit in redacting not just the names of people on applications but also the school and the university that they went to as well, taking into account the impact that going to Oxbridge and the school that you attend - particularly the independent school - potentially can have, on the impact on people being employed?"

Ms Grant said she agreed.

"I think that's a very interesting idea and I actually think we have got to do everything we can to make sure that we attract the most diverse talent, especially in the BBC and other stations too," she said.

"The more diverse the talent, the better the programmes and the higher the ratings so the business case is actually made."

Julie Elliott stressed the need for the BBC to reflect every region in the UK, telling the House that Salford "is not where the North ends".

The Labour MP for Sunderland Central said: "We expect a lot from the BBC both as licence fee payers and as viewers.

"We expect BBC output to be of high quality, original, innovative, challenging, engaging and trustworthy, for it to reflect the diverse British experience and for it to be widely available.

"I believe that each region and country has the right to see itself represented by the national broadcaster.

"At present I think the BBC is falling short on this commitment."

Dawn Butler, the Labour MP for Brent Central, told the House how she had spoken to her friend Idris Elba many years ago and he had said he was going to move to America because there was no work for him in the UK.

She welcomed his success but said it was a "shame that we couldn't keep the talent in house in the first place".

Ms Butler suggested that a BAME audience panel needs to be created to represent their interests to Ofcom.

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Former Labour leadership-hopeful Chuka Umunna intervened to back the idea as he attacked the "representation of our Muslim communities" on broadcast television.

He said: "The rising Islamophobia that we see is in no small part to certain broadcasters, I've seen it happen on the BBC but on others, who put up so-called community leaders who purport to speak for that community but have no mandate whatsoever to do so."

A panel, Mr Umunna said, would "increase the chances" of broadcasters like the BBC "getting this right".

A BBC spokesman said: "We are making good progress in our work to make the BBC a truly diverse organisation, but there's more to do and we're always keen to improve.

"Almost half of our workforce is made up of women and the proportion of our workforce who are black, Asian and other ethnic minority is at an all-time high.

"We'll continue doing what works but also develop new and innovative ideas to do even better, and we'll set this out in our new diversity strategy shortly."