Channel 4 will mark Black History Month with a slate of specials, including a documentary about the UK’s pioneering black comedians.
Across October, five hour-long commissions will explore black love, the misconceptions surrounding black hair and the science behind Covid-19’s impact on black, Asian and minority ethnic (Bame) groups.
Bafta-winning comedian and presenter Mo Gilligan will present and executive produce Black, British And Funny, which will look back at the black comedy circuit’s history and explore why so few of its stars have found mainstream success.
Gilligan’s Channel 4 chat show, The Lateish Show With Mo Gilligan, won the entertainment performance gong at last month’s TV Baftas.
Black Love will feature prominent black British couples discussing their relationships and identity through the prism of love.
It is created by Yomi Adegoke, journalist and co-author of Slay In Your Lane, and directed by Adeyemi Michael.
Produced by Pulse Films, Black Hair will explore how hair became one of the most misunderstood, celebrated and debated aspects of the black experience.
Academic and broadcaster Emma Dabiri, author of Don’t Touch My Hair, will lead the conversation, as men and women talk about how their identities have been shaped by their hair
Channel 4 describes the special as a “taboo-busting documentary”.
Author and presenter Dr Ronx, an emergency doctor from London, fronts two science-related specials.
Is Covid Racist? aims “to explore why the virus has killed more people of colour from our NHS frontline; and what the statistics can reveal about the structural failings at the heart of our society,” according to Channel 4.
Are Women The Fitter Sex? will look at the ways in which women are better at fighting disease than men, with Dr Ronx interviewing experts, researchers and patients.
Danny Horan, Channel 4’s head of factual, said: “I am really excited about the range of programming for Black History Month this year, particularly because we are launching new onscreen talent we hope will become regular faces on Channel 4.
“This is an important time to reflect, celebrate and consider again what has been achieved and how much more we, as a society and an industry, have to do to redress the balance of storytelling, subjects and talent, both on and off screen.”