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London Hughes confirms ITV are interested in her travel show with Whoopi Goldberg

As she speaks out about her frustrations on the way television in the UK treats females and black talent.

Cast your minds back to New Year's Day when comedian London Hughes tweeted "Sister Act is on, and I’m still a tiny bit pissed off that in 2018 a whole Whoopi Goldberg agreed to do a travel show with me but no TV channels wanted it,”

At the time, the tweet went viral with fellow comedians Tiffany Stevenson, Gina Yashere, Jenny Eclair and Katy Brand all commenting with very similar stories of struggling to get shows commissioned and around 5,000 commented on the tweet, in support of the now shelved show.

The celebrity-fronted travel show is a well-known television format, almost exclusively given to male celebrities and their fathers, mothers, sons or friends. In fact, Sue Perkins is the only celebrity I can think of to front her own.

Speaking on this week's episode of Richard Herring's Leicester Square Podcast, London talks about how the idea for the series first came about "I really wanted a female-led travel show because that would be amazing and there aren't any. The company I worked with were like 'Who would you like to do one with?' and I just said Whoopi Goldberg like you would say Beyoncé and they were like 'OK cool, we can make that happen.'"

"They contacted Whoopi, Whoopi said yes. Usually when you make TV shows the talent is the last thing to happen, you get the TV channel interested and then you say 'We can try and get Whoopi Goldberg' and you fight for that. But in this situation, we got Whoopi. Whoopi was on board."

"It would be me and Whoopi going to America, travelling around. I want to be her because she's the only black female household name in comedy. ONLY. Full stop. [...] The dream is still to be as big as her, so to do a show with her, oh my God, and a travel show as well! Me and Whoopi getting drunk on tequila shots and just living our best lives."

Talking about the difficulty in getting the show commissioned, London said "No channel wanted it. [...] A lot of comments were that Whoopi Goldberg's not relevant enough. That's crazy."

But fast-forward a few months and it seems as though things are about to change. "Now all of a sudden people are interested in a show with me and Whoopi Goldberg." she said, adding "Now my agent's getting calls saying 'Oh, we've decided to do an all-female led travel show.' and she's like 'I wonder why?! My client started that shit!' [...]"

And she revealed "Hopefully now this Whoopi show will get made. It's had interest from ITV, they're interested in it right now."

During the podcast, London also expressed her frustration at trying out for 8 Out of 10 Cats does Countdown many times and the politics that surround its casting.

"Every single time I'd be told "Oh we love London, we just don't think our audience will get her.' But then the basic dudes who say one or two jokes that are safe, relatable, white dudes always make it on the show. [...] If I'm not good enough, then that's one thing. But don't tell me I'm good enough and (blame it on) the audience. Just take a risk. [...] So instead of me, they have Jamelia!"

Revealing the backlash she faces when she does appear on a television show, London said people always call her "the token" or tell her that she "doesn't deserve to be there".

"I'm like, you need to understand, how hard it is for women in comedy anyway. On top of that I'm a black woman in comedy and I've been on TV for ten years. I have to be good to be on TV for 10 years being a black woman in this country. We make up like 3% of the country and less than 1% of television."

Earlier on in the podcast, London spoke about recently finding success in LA, after realising "America is the only way I'm going to get famous in the UK because they (the UK) don't give a shit about black people."

"When I started comedy Gina Yashere had just gone to LA. That was my only source of black women in comedy and she just fucked off. Andi Osho was my homegirl for a bit and then she fucked off. Then Idris Elba went to my Uni and he went to America, was in The Wire and then got Luther and everything was amazing for him. But I remember before he went to America he was in Family Affairs and no one gave a shit."

Well I for one can't wait to watch that travel series with London and Whoopi and hope that channels will now be knocking down the doors of the females who they previously turned down so that they can make their shows. Things need to change and it's great to see London using her platform for good.

RHLSP with Richard Herring is available to listen to now

London Hughes will be performing To Catch a D*ck at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe from 31st July - 25th August (not 12th) and you can book tickets here

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