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Trevor McDonald & Charlene White: Has George Floyd Changed Britain?

  • Episode:

    1 of 1

  • Transmission (TX):

    Wed 12 May 2021

  • TX Confirmed


  • Time

    9.00pm - 10.00pm

  • Week:

    Week 19 2021 : Sat 08 May - Fri 14 May

  • Channel:


  • Published:

    Thu 29 Apr 2021

The information contained herein is embargoed from all Press, online, social media, non-commercial publication or syndication - in the public domain - until Tuesday 4 May 2021.

Trevor McDonald & Charlene White: Has George Floyd Changed Britain?

“The conversation is only spoken about or mentioned or highlighted when something happens. Racism is an ongoing struggle, day in, day out, for Black people." - John Barnes

As we approach the one-year anniversary of the death of George Floyd, Sir Trevor McDonald and Charlene White host a new hour-long documentary for ITV exploring its impact for people living in the UK.

This programme investigates the consequences of the tragedy and the conversations that have followed in Britain and around the world.

Sir Trevor and Charlene examine the effect of the Black Lives Matter movement and, in the wake of recent studies, ask to what extent prejudice is embedded in British society.

George Floyd’s death, and the circumstances around it, prompted a re-examination of race, racism and made Britain question what we stand for, who we really are and what needs to happen next.

Sir Trevor and Charlene speak to people across Britain, from all walks of life – to gain an insight into the experiences of people in the UK. Floyd’s death prompted both prominent figures and members of the public to share their own stories – but, a year on, what has really changed?

Among those featured in the documentary are teachers attempting to transform the curriculum in schools, mothers campaigning for better maternity outcomes in hospitals and representatives from historic institutions that are re-examining the past.

The programme also hears from high profile public figures on why they’ve called for change and used their platforms to speak out about racism in the last year. 

They include British athlete Commonwealth gold-winning British athlete Bianca Williams, who made headlines with her partner Ricardo Dos Santos last summer after they were controversially stopped, searched and handcuffed by police, with their 3-month old son in the car. Bianca recorded a distressing video and posted it online where it was viewed more than a million times. The Met later apologised to Bianca and have voluntarily referred the incident to the Independent Office for Police Conduct. She says she still feels the reverberations of the incident now after an online backlash against her, saying: "Until this day I still get trolled. I got called a race baiter. I had people on Twitter tagging TeamGB, tagging British Athletics, saying that I should be dropped, saying that I should never get to represent Great Britain again, people telling me to leave the country.”

A recent report revealed Black women are four times more likely than white women to die during pregnancy or childbirth in the UK. The programme speaks to Sonah Paton, a founder of Black Mothers Matter - an organisation set up last year by three friends in Bristol to help Black mothers get information and support. She says: “It definitely affected how I felt through pregnancy. I just felt, as a Black woman, you can sometimes be made to feel a bit like you're being a bit hysterical or over the top… People are so quick to deny or to write off what's quite obvious racism or bias to me, and explain it away with anything, absolutely anything else than accept that it might be due to bias and racism."

Aisha, a GP in the NHS, is hopeful conversations are now being had that will create change: “Change is always possible. If we don’t believe change is possible then – then what's the point? I do believe that the NHS can change, I do believe that people want it to change, and I do believe we’ll see significant changes in our lifetime.”

In some of the most popular areas of British culture, like sport, change appears to be coming more slowly than in other parts of society. Ebony Rainford-Brent was the first Black woman to play for the England cricket team, and says: “I’m gonna be brutal with you about the numbers, it’s not great if you really unpick them. Zero Black board members as we speak today, zero Black chief executives, zero Black captains, zero Black directors of cricket, zero Black leaders in all the leadership positions.”

England football legend John Barnes - once famously pictured backheeling a banana off the pitch - discusses the lack of Black managers in the game and in wider leadership positions, as well as his feelings on players taking the knee. He says: “It leads me to remember Kick It Out or Say No to Racism, 25 years ago. Twenty-five years later, nothing has changed."

Sharon Aninakwa, Head of History at the Convent of Jesus And Mary Language College in London, believes the death of George Floyd, by raising the profile of Black Lives Matter, became a catalyst for change, saying: "I think it started a national conversation, I think it's created space for a dialogue and a true reckoning to happen with race in the country. And I think that’s a really significant achievement. I don't think there has been another movement that has really started to ask some serious questions about race in the way that this movement has."

Foreign Office Minister James Cleverly believes there is hope for further change, saying: "I have seen change, I have seen the direction of travel. So, I am positive, I think we do have a duty to make sure we make that positive change happen as quickly as possible, we can't get lazy, we can't get complacent, but I do think there is a real desire to change."

The Black Lives Matter movement has prompted many institutions to have difficult conversations, including Harewood House in Leeds, where Earl David Lascelles hopes to reconcile Harewood’s history and connections to the slave trade. He says: “I think it’s a period of history that as a nation, we’ve not come to terms with properly. I think that, until we do, a lot of the divisions, a lot of the conflicts, can’t be resolved until we understand our history properly.” 

This is an ITN Productions programme for ITV.