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Black History Month on ITV

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A series of specially commissioned films, as well as the return of the only comedy panel show about black history, will lead ITV’s programming for Black History Month, this October.

Building on last year’s on-air campaign, October will again see a high-profile awareness raising campaign from ITV Marketing and ITV Creative.

Commissioning Editor for the season, Satmohan Panesar, said:

“Building on last year’s celebrations, Black History Month returns to ITV this October. Featuring a range of engaging documentaries from some of our highest profile talent; through their personal stories, the films will explore what it means to be black in Britain today. We’re also really pleased that Sorry, I Didn’t Know is returning, which is a brilliant and entertaining showcase of diverse talent.

Continuing our commitment to diversity off screen during the season, we’re delighted to be working with DocHearts and Uplands Television, who are making their first films for ITV as part of the season, and continuing to develop diverse production talent at TriForce Productions and TwoFour on their Black History Month commissions.”

Ashley Banjo: Britain in Black and White (w/t)

In the summer of 2020 Ashley Banjo was thrust into the centre of the Black Lives Matter movement. The pro equality routine performed by Diversity, one of the most complained about moments in OFCOM’s history, suddenly cast Ashley and his fellow dancers into the political spotlight, and at the centre of a vicious twitter pile on. The lines between entertainment, politics and history blurred.

A year on from that moment and having won a BAFTA as a recognition of the importance of it, Ashley is going on a journey into his own past and also a journey of discovery into British History.

This history is one that has stubbornly remained outside the canon of British history – The black civil rights movement in the UK. Part journey of discovery, part intimate biography, Ashley will reveal how race and racism have impacted upon his life and that of his family and friends. Crucially by meeting civil rights trailblazers from modern history, he will also try and understand what it means to take a stand. He’ll get first hand testimony of the perils, positives and optimism of ‘standing up’. Armed with these stories and information, these trailblazers help him navigate his newly found purpose as champion for civil rights in the UK.

Ashley Banjo: Britain in Black and White w/t is an Uplands Television production for ITV. The Producer/Director is Eddie Hutton-Mills, and the Executive Producers are Mike Smith and David Olusoga. The Assistant Producer is Rochelle Newman, and Tejumade Oluokun is the Production Manager. Satmohan Panesar is the Commissioning Editor for ITV Factual Entertainment.

Charlene White: Empire’s Child

Charlene White embarks on a journey to uncover the roots of her connection to the British Empire, as she tries to figure out why so many black Britons, despite all their positive contributions, are still fighting to be recognised as British. Charlene’s father and uncle both served in the British armed forces, alongside many other black service men and women. In a revealing and emotional journey, Charlene travels across Britain and Jamaica to investigate her own heritage and the relationship between the Empire and her family.

A moving, surprisingly funny film, this is ultimately a quest for the truth of Britain in a racially charged world. Can the country ever truly emerge from the shadow of empire? How do we get through this present tumultuous period? And where does the future lie for Charlene’s children and their generation as black Britons?

Empire’s Child is a Doc Hearts production, with Andy Mundy-Castle and Sam Bickley as executive producers, and Anna Manton as producer/director. The Commissioning Editor is Satmohan Panesar, ITV Factual Entertainment.

will iam: The Blackprint

will.i.am: The Blackprint is a one-hour documentary for ITV that follows global superstar will.i.am’s personal and timely exploration of what it means to be Black and British, in the country he calls his second home.

Born and raised in Los Angeles, will.i.am first came to the UK over twenty years ago. Since then the British public have welcomed will.i.am into their homes and hearts as a fully-fledged national treasure. Yet despite all the time he has spent in this country that he loves, will.i.am has never had the opportunity to explore Black Britain and find out what it’s really like to live here.

But now all that’s set to change as will.i.am embarks on a fascinating nationwide quest to learn about the lives of Black Brits, and compare and contrast the lived experience on both sides of the Atlantic.

From civil rights heroes and trail blazers in tech, to inspiring schoolchildren and even the odd famous friend, will.i.am’s mission sees him meeting members of the Black community from across the country, and learn about the milestone events that have helped shape the modern Black British landscape.

With surprising, shocking and revealing moments throughout, will.i.am’s thought provoking journey draws upon his own experiences growing up, and spans the heartbreak of the past, the struggles of the present day and the hopes for our future.

will.i.am: The Blackprint is a Twofour (part of ITV Studios) production, and the Executive Producers are will.i.am and Nic Patten. The Senior Producer is Laetitia Nneke. The Commissioning Editor is David Smyth in ITV Entertainment.

Sorry, I Didn’t Know

Jimmy Akingbola will return to host the new series which will air in October on ITV and ITV Hub, as part of ITV’s Black History Month celebrations.

Chizzy Akudolu and Judi Love will also be back as the team leaders presiding over the guests as they battle it out over four rounds, unveiling interesting Black History facts along the way.

The show will once again be a riotous showcase of some of the hottest comedians from diverse backgrounds as they have their knowledge tested of untold stories and unsung heroes.

Last year’s series welcomed guests including Colin Salmon, Angie Le Mar, Tom Allen and Russell Kane, and in partnership with Dandi.org.uk, hired a fully inclusive team behind the camera as well.

Sorry, I Didn’t Know is commissioned by Joe Mace and Gemma John Lewis in ITV Entertainment Commissioning. It is produced by TriForce Productions and was created by husband and wife team, Fraser and Minnie Ayres.