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Bare Knuckle Boxer (Channel 4 1 May 2003)

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AIRDATE: Thursday 1 May 2003 at 9.00pm on Channel 4 | 60 minutes

On the 8th October 1805, only a fortnight before the battle of Trafalgar, another battle gripped the imagination of England. 10,000 people from all walks of life came to a secret location just outside London to see the English champion and national hero, Tom Cribb, take on the “Black Terror”, ex-slave Bill Richmond. Boxing was illegal but these were the glory years of bare-knuckled fighting. England’s prize fighters symbolised the country’s greatness and gave expression to the British bulldog mentality of national pride.

This programme tells the colourful and remarkable story of the black challenger, Bill Richmond, whose rags-to-riches story is told within a Hogarthian demi-world of gambling, womanising, and drinking. It was a world where young men would seek their fortune by “throwing their hat into the ring” and the rich would enjoy gambling their money away in a sport that, for a few decades, defined its time. In the prize-ring anyone could achieve national fame whether they were poor, Jewish, Irish or black. But by taking on Tom Cribb, Bill Richmond would discover that there was a limit to how far an outsider could go in British sport.

Black men were a familiar sight in Georgian London and by the early 18th century there were more than 15,000 in the capital from all corners of the globe. Many were sailors, travelling musicians or runaway slaves. Most of them lived in poverty surviving on whatever charity they could find. Bill Richmond was very different. By the time he retired from the prize ring, he was a rich London celebrity. Lord Byron wrote about Bill and even the King wanted to meet him. Pierce Egan, publisher of the underground prize-fighting magazine Boxiana and Bill’s number one fan wrote, “This pugilistic hero of colour stands nearly unrivalled in the prize-ring. The right hand is truly dreadful. Two hits from it well applied can produce the severity to decide a contest. Yet, however engaged in the art of milling, he is not so absorbed in fighting as to be incapable of discourse in the other subjects. He is intelligent, communicative… He is an extraordinary man.”

However, Bill Richmond was born a slave. He and his mother lived on Staten Island, New York where they were the sole property of a parson, Richard Charlton. When he was 13, an English aristocrat called Lord Percy came to dine at the parsonage. For the English aristocracy at the time, a black servant was a must-have accessory and Lord Percy took an instant shine to the bright young boy. Percy brought Bill to England to work as a servant in his castle in Northumberland and Bill took full advantage of this cultured and learned environment. He taught himself to read and Percy even sent him to school and eventually set Bill up as an apprentice cabinet-maker in York.

David Dabydeen, author of Hogarth’s Blacks , says, “The 1780s were probably the best time to be alive in Britain as a black person. You have a major abolition movement starting – the Society for the Abolition of the Slave Trade. Hundreds of thousands of people from all social classes went on the streets to protest on the behalf of black people. It’s a massive social movement that meant that there was a great deal of sympathy in this country for the ideals of justice and decency and fairness and freedom.” But these ideals weren’t always prevalent on the back streets of York. One evening, Bill was walking with a white woman and was accosted by a white man. In return, Bill handed out a complete ‘milling’; that is, to thrash, beat, or to box.

Bare knuckle boxing was a shady world operating on the every edge of the law. It had its own unofficial championship contested only by Britain’s toughest men; men who fought for honour and big money. It was a violent and gruesome sport where almost anything was allowed. Fights could go on for hours and men had to be made of stern stuff to contemplate making a living out of it. Peter Radford, sports historian, comments, “The boxing stars took on enormous status. All young boys wanted to be like the great fighters. They knew them by name. Their vital statistics, their height, their weight, their reach was in every paper.”

Boxing matches sprung up in travelling shows and fairs and these events would develop into great community events. Anyone could try their hand in the ring and it was at such an event in 1796 that Bill Richmond entered the records of boxing history when he fought George ‘Docky’ York, a renowned Yorkshire fighter. Boxiana reported that despite weighing only 10 stone, 12 pounds, “In the course of some twenty minutes, our hero punished Docky so completely that he gave in and was taken away totally blind.” So began the story of a legend and the world’s first black superstar.

Director and Producer: Rob Coldstream
Executive Producer: Samir Shah
Production Company: Juniper

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Bancroft Episode 2 airs Tues 12 Dec on ITV

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Bancroft Episode 2

In the second of four episodes Bancroft helps Katherine and Anya with the Fraser case, but they are struggling to find any worthwhile forensic evidence. Katherine and Joe’s relationship progresses, whilst events take a grisly turn for the Kamara family – forcing Bancroft to offer Daanish a deal. Laura’s former husband Tim Fraser is reluctant to help with Laura’s cold case, but an unexpected visit changes his mind. Katherine and Anya make some game-changing discoveries.

Scheduled across four consecutive nights Bancroft is a dark and compelling thriller, and at its heart is a female detective with an explosive secret.

Created and written by Kate Brooke and starring Sarah Parish as Detective Superintendent Elizabeth Bancroft.

Bancroft Episode 2 (of 4) airs Tuesday 12 December 2017 from 9.00pm-10.00pm on Channel 4.

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Ferne McCann: First Time Mum Premieres Tues 12 Dec on ITVBe

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Ferne McCann First Time Mum

Former Towie star Ferne McCann’s journey towards motherhood is documented in Ferne McCann: First Time Mum premiering on ITVBe on Tuesday 12 December at 9.00pm.

With intimate access to her close circle of family and friends, Ferne shows courage and strength in the face of adversity, as she confronts pregnancy in the backdrop of a media storm around her ex-partner.

Ferne says: “You find out you’re pregnant, you’re like, I was so excited and it was just all going to be amazing and then your whole life and world is turned upside down it was like, just absolute hell, and is hell.”

But the programme shows her positive approach and excitement about having a baby and she explains how she had to find the strength to carry on. She says: “I don’t think you realise how much strength you’ve actually got until you are faced with a terrible situation.”

With 12 weeks to go until she gives birth, Ferne she goes about her daily life – preparing for the baby and working hard.

As well as being pregnant she has moved out of her mum’s house and is living alone for the first time. But she still spends plenty of time with her mum who joins her for hypnobirthing lessons and will be her birthing partner when she goes into labour.

Ferne prepares for the new arrival by buying furniture for the baby – and struggling to put it together – and going for a psychic reading to find out more information about the little one.

Ferne also admits she is reluctant to join normal pregnancy groups due to her personal situation and the fear of people judging her, but she does try out pregnancy yoga after meeting another mum on a trip out. She also takes part in a magazine photoshoot and goes to her first red carpet event since discovering she was expecting.

Ferne allows intimate access to her close circle of family and friends such as James ‘Arg’ Argent, Vicky Pattison and Stephanie Pratt as she discusses her future with them and her excitement at having a baby.

The programme follows Ferne right up to giving birth to her baby girl and she is clearly besotted with her. Ferne says: “I cannot imagine life without her. It’s such a lovely surreal feeling that she is mine. I cannot believe I had a girl, I’m so shocked. I’m so in love.”

Ferne McCann First Time Mum Premieres Tuesday 12 December 2017 from 9.00pm-10.30pm on ITVBe.

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Save Money Good Food Episode 4 (ITV 12 Dec 2017)

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Save Money Good Food Episode 4

In the fourth episode of Save Money Good Food, airing on Tuesday 12 December at 7.30pm on ITV, Susanna and Matt are in Surrey with the Dhillons. This family love cooking but they throw most of their leftovers in the bin. Matt takes on the challenge to get them loving their leftovers, using them to create delicious new meals to save them money.

The Thai vegetable curry can be reinvented the following night with meat – and the leftover rice is used for a clever pudding! The final feast of Moroccan tagine is a taste sensation that will taste even better the next day. The Dhillons do a lot of top up shops at local convenience stores so Susanna is finding out how we can all shop smarter when we use the smaller shops – and as it’s the run up to Christmas we are testing the nation’s favourite tipple – red wine.

Save Money Good Food Episode 4 (of 5) airs Tuesday 12 December 2017 from 7.30pm-8.00pm on ITV.

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