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ITV announces plans to mark Black History Month

ITV announces plans to mark Black History Month

ITV has announced plans to mark Black History Month with specially commissioned new shows and channel branding throughout October.

ITV will celebrate the contribution of black people to television, comedy, history and our wider culture in new programmes and the work of black artists will feature as the channel’s on air branding in a series of idents that will appear throughout the month.

The new programmes include:

Alison Hammond: Back To School (w/t)

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Alison Hammond goes on the ultimate school history trip with a twist. In her own unique and inimitable style, for this peak-time commission, Alison will be travelling the length and breadth of Britain to key historical sites - from Hadrian’s Wall to Hampton Court - looking at the history we’re all taught in schools, but from a different angle. Revelatory and personal, the journey will uncover black figures throughout the ages who have been overlooked from the pages of British history and school textbooks. Alison will be given an insight into the significance of black people in Britain’s history by experts who open her eyes to a new perspective on our country’s past and will explore our current teaching of history in schools. Directed by Ryan Samuda and Mariam Hussain and Series produced by Anna Manton. Sue Walton and Noleen Golding are executive producers for ITV Studios Daytime.

Alison Hammond: Back To School (w/t)  is commissioned for ITV by Satmohan Panesar, Factual Commissioning Editor.  

Sorry I Didn’t Know

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A classic comedy panel show… but altogether new. 

Sorry, I Didn’t Know tests and teases players' and audiences knowledge of untold stories and unsung heroes… History… With a touch of colour.

Barely held together by our host, Jimmy Akingbola, star of hit ITV sitcom Kate and Koji, and populated by raucous teams, Sorry, I Didn’t Know is a riotous showcase of some of the hottest comedians from diverse backgrounds that we rarely see on such shows, as they embrace the gaping lack of knowledge we all have when it comes to Black history.

Sorry, I Didn’t Know is bold, tongue-in-cheek and unapologetic, with something for everyone – no matter what their colour or demographic.

Sorry I Didn’t Know is commissioned for ITV by Joe Mace, Entertainment Commissioning Editor and Gemma John-Lewis, Entertainment Assistant Commissioner and is produced by TriForce Productions.

Black Comedy Legends (w/t)

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In celebration of this year's Black History Month, we take a look back on some of the greatest and sometimes forgotten Black comedy legends of our time. Through a combination of nostalgic archive footage and star interviews, we’ll find out about the greatest black comics, from the first breakout black comic, Yorkshireman Charlie Williams, to today’s rising stars, such as Michaela Coel and genre-defining shows from Desmonds to The Real McCoy.  This celebration of pioneering stars will draw our focus from their work to the present day to offer an insight into the legacy of decades of comedy talent that has touched the new generation of black comedians who are now shaping the future. Series Produced by Marina Warsama and executive producers are Dhanny Joshi, Thomas Stogdon and Maxine Watson for Big Deal Films.

Black Comedy Legends is commissioned for ITV by Satmohan Panesar, Factual Commissioning Editor and is produced by Big Deal Films. 

Charlene and Friends [WT]

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In a format created by ITV News presenter, Charlene White, this brand new studio show aimed at young people will transmit simultaneously on CITV and ITV.  With films, honest discussion, animation and music from the best young talent, this special programme sets out to engage young viewers in a vibrant focus on racism.

Short animated stories of children’s real-life experiences of racism, interesting facts and top experts all feature to address questions from children across the UK and break down the science behind our diverse human race.

The programme will transmit simultaneously on CITV and ITV.  Charlene White is the co-producer with Jessica Symons as Executive Producer for ITN Productions.

Charlene and Friends [WT] is commissioned for ITV by Paul Mortimer, Head of Digital Channels and Acquisitions, Michael Jermey, Director of News and Current Affairs and Gemma John-Lewis, Assistant Commissioner, Entertainment

 

Satmohan Panesar, who has overseen commissioning for Black History Month, said:

“These programmes span Factual, Entertainment, and Children’s in an effort to reach out to viewers across the board at all levels. We hope viewers will enjoy the incredible stories, wonderful entertainment and fascinating people they focus on as we look at Britain from a vital and different perspective and celebrate the contribution of black people to Britain’s story, our culture and our lives.” 

Beyond on-screen programming, two of the original main channel commissions are being made by BAME-led indies and off-screen BAME producers will take on development opportunities as they progress their careers in line with ITV's Step Up 60 initiative.

Panesar added:

“Diversity on-screen must be accompanied by a commitment to diversity off-screen, with first time ITV primetime directing credits for Samuda and Hussain and Manton taking the reigns as a new series producer.  We look forward to watching their progress in the industry.”

Throughout Black History Month, ITV’s on air branding will be designed by black artists, who have created artwork for the channel idents as part of ITV Creates. This is a project that has seen artwork by individual and community group artists feature in channel idents since 2019. 

Artists include: Hamed Maiye, Neequaye Dreph Dsane, King Owusu, Alfie Kungu and Carleen De Sözer.

All Black History Month content will be available on ITV Hub, along with updated programmes including David Harewood-presented film In the Shadow of Mary Seacole and Martin Luther King by Trevor McDonald, alongside acclaimed documentary First Among Equals: The Laurie Cunningham Story.

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Note to Editors

ITV recently ran a series of short films under the banner “Black Voices”, which was shown across ITV and STV’s promotional airtime, social feeds, as well as a dedicated campaign site at itv.com/blackvoices.

The series offered black voices a platform to share stories of racism and their vision of changes they believe should happen.

Aiming to promote understanding and discussion around a cause of profound importance and to contribute towards inspiring long term change, Black Voices featured a range of people discussing their experiences of racism, including MPs Helen Grant and David Lammy, founder of Operation Black Vote Simon Woolley, journalist Charlene White, Emmerdale actor Jay Kontzle and other colleagues from across ITV.

Also shown earlier this month was Drama series, Unsaid Stories, a series of short films inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement.  Each of the drama shorts featured powerful and impactful stories illustrating the importance of black perspectives.