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ITV announces its plans for Black History Month

ITV will mark Black History Month with specially commissioned new shows from Alison Hammond, Charlene White and more as well as special 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.

New programmes include Alison Hammond: Back To School, Sorry I Didn’t Know, Black Comedy Legends and Charlene and Friends. More about those shows below...


Alison Hammond: Back To School

In this one-off documentary, This Morning favourite Alison Hammond will go on the ultimate school history trip with a twist. In her own unique and inimitable style, 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.


Sorry I Didn’t Know

This four-part panel show was originally piloted on ITV2 in 2016, 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 promises to showcase 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 being described a bold, tongue-in-cheek and unapologetic, with something for everyone – no matter what their colour or demographic.


Black Comedy Legends

In celebration of this year's Black History Month, this one-off documentary will 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 Desmond's 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.


Charlene and Friends

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.

It's a format created by ITV News presenter Charlene White. It will feature 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.


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 andCarleen De Sözer.

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

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