29th August 2020

In_pictures Channel 4 to hold ‘black takeover’ day

In_pictures Channel 4 to hold ‘black takeover’ day


in_pictures Mo GilliganImage copyright
Getty Images

Image caption

Mo Gilligan will host a one-off special of The Big Breakfast

Channel 4 is to hold a “black takeover day” to “kickstart a fresh push for greater on and off-screen representation”.

The day, to be held next year, will see flagship programmes such as Celebrity Gogglebox, Countdown and Hollyoaks all presented by and starring black talent.

Comedian Mo Gilligan will open the schedule with a one-off return of The Big Breakfast, 18 years after it ended.

The initiative will be held to mark a year since the death of George Floyd.

It will also lead into the events marking Black History Month.

Protests spread across the world after Floyd died while in police custody in Minneapolis on 25 May, and the Black Lives Matter movement, demanding respect and equality for all people of colour, was rekindled.

Ian Katz, director of programmes, said: “Channel 4 was created to give voice to underrepresented parts of society and do things which other broadcasters would not, and the ‘Black Takeover’ qualifies on both counts.

“It will be much more than a day of eye-catching programming, providing a focal point for our efforts to drive up on and off screen representation and leaving a lasting legacy on the channel and beyond.”

It has asked The Sir Lenny Henry Centre for Media Diversity to help make lasting changes.

Head of creative diversity Babita Bahal will oversee on and off-screen commitments alongside head of commissioning management Emma Hardy.

Image copyright
Getty Images

Image caption

Hollyoaks star Rachel Adedeji said she saw and experienced racism working on the soap

Kelly Webb-Lamb, deputy director of programmes and head of popular factual said: “This project involves every slot, every genre, and every corner of the channel, and will therefore be the most radical and meaningful intervention into diversity in the channel’s history.”

Earlier this month, the production company behind the soap Hollyoaks launched a guardians scheme in an effort to tackle racial inequality among the soap’s cast and crew.

Lime Pictures’ measures came after some cast members claimed they had experienced racism on the series.

Rachel Adedeji said a senior producer referred to black cast members using a racial slur and claimed black actresses were told to change their hair.

At the time, Hollyoaks’ producers said they were “deeply shocked and saddened” by the issues that had come to light.

Another Hollyoaks star, Talia Grant, later said she had “dealt with difficult situations and micro aggressions” on the soap.

The company’s bosses, Kate Little and Claire Poyser, said: “As a community and company, we have clearly got some things wrong.

“Together we will improve and learn from our mistakes.

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