From the blog

UK: ITV Commissions BAME Driven Shows 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.

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.

“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.” Panesar added.

The new programmes include: Alison Hammond:

Back to School where the ‘Good Morning’ co-host travels 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.

‘Sorry, I Didn’t Know’ – A classic comedy panel show where participant and audience gets teased and tested about knowledge of untold stories and unsung heroes… History… With a touch of colour. The show will be hosted by Jimmy Akingbola, star of hit ITV sitcom Kate and Koji.

Sorry, I Didn’t Know is bold, tongue-in-cheek and unapologetic, with something for everyone.

‘Black Comedy Legends’– is a journey back on some of the greatest and sometimes forgotten Black comedy legends of our time 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.  Production is by Marina Warsama and executive producers are Dhanny Joshi, Thomas Stogdon and Maxine Watson for Big Deal Films.

Charlene and Friends: Fronted byITV 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. Charlene White co-produce with Jessica Symons as Executive Producer for ITN Productions.

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.