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As part of its ongoing commitment as an anti-racist organisation to improve Black representation on and off screen and drive long-term change, Channel 4’s Director of Programmes Ian Katz today announced two major new commissioning opportunities – a new Black-led comedy series and a new unscripted series set in the Black community – which will feature in a Black Takeover of the channel next year. 

Channel 4 is set to disrupt its regular schedule and reimagine some of its biggest mainstream shows with a ‘takeover’ day of programming that will mark a year since the international protests and debates sparked by the killing of George Floyd and lead into Black History Month 2021. 

Programming will include:

  • Mo Gilligan to front The Big Breakfast one-off special

  • Hollyoaks one-hour special written, directed and performed by Black talent

  • Tender open for late-night topical discussion show

  • Celebrity Gogglebox, Countdown and Channel 4 News to feature all Black talent

  • Channel 4 consults The Sir Lenny Henry Centre for Media Diversity to help shape ambitious and meaningful off-screen talent commitments

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.”

Kelly Webb-Lamb, Deputy Director of Programmes and Head of Popular Factual added:   “Building on the content commissioned following the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd, Channel 4’s commitment to improving Black representation will continue in 2021 and Viv and Shaminder’s ambition for a bold and truly memorable day on Channel 4 will ensure a lasting legacy, both on and off-screen.  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.”

Comedian Mo Gilligan said:  "Like so many of us, I loved The Big Breakfast and I am so grateful to be asked to host this special event, particularly as part of such a hugely thrilling and history making day for British television!"


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