The Black to Front Project is part of Channel 4’s ongoing commitment to improve Black representation on-screen and more widely in the TV industry. The purpose of the project is two-fold: firstly, to challenge us all to see our content differently, and secondly, to leave a lasting legacy in terms of increased Black representation both on- and off-screen.
As part of this project, on September 10th 2021 Channel 4 broadcast programming featuring Black presenters, actors, writers and experts, contributors, and programme-makers.
We did this as part of our remit to represent and champion under-represented audiences and communities, Channel 4 is the first and only broadcaster that could make such a significant commitment to bringing new creative ideas, stories, people and points of view to the UK audience.
It is important to us that viewers can identify with people that they see on-screen and that everyone in the UK feels represented and heard in our programmes. The programming will not only entertain viewers but also create a national conversation about Black portrayal and representation.
From flagship shows The Big Breakfast, Gogglebox and Channel 4 News to new commissions including scripted comedy Big Age, topical debate show Unapologetic, and docu-ality show Highlife, the programming will air on Channel 4, All 4, on our social media and also be reflected in our adverts and continuity announcers.
- The Big Breakfast - Mo Gilligan, AJ Odudu, Phil Gayle (original news reader) + guests
- Big Age - writer, Bolu Babalola. Starring Ronke Adékoluẹjo, Racheal Ofori, Michael Workeye and CJ Beckford
- Unapologetic – Topical discussion show - presented by Yinka Bokinni & Zeze Millz
- Highlife – docu-ality show with a cast of trailblazing British Nigerian and Ghanaians, including DJ Cuppy, Bernicia Boateng and Kiddwaya
Existing Shows include
- Gogglebox – existing families and celebrities too, including Ghetts, Ashely Banjo, Maya Jama, Rudolph Walker, Tameka Empson and Judi Love
- Mel B’s Packed Lunch – Spice Girl Melanie Brown joins the show live in the Leeds studio joined by show regulars Chris Kamara and Freddy Forster + guests
- Hollyoaks - written by Hollyoaks core team writer Thabo Mhlatshwa, directed by Patrick Robinson, anchored around the pivotal Black Deveraux family. Cast include Richard Blackwood, Kelle Bryan and Jamelia
- Countdown - Sir Trevor McDonald, Lemn Sissay OBE, Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon MBE and Marverine Cole.
- Love it or List it – Scarlette & Stuart Douglas, who will go on to present Flipping Fast for C4
- The Great House Giveaway - Tayo Oguntonade joins presenting team long term
- A Place In the Sun, regular presenter Jean Johansson
- Channel 4 News - presented by Ayshah Tull and Keme Nzerem, programme editor Tony Bakare. C4 news will put modern Britain under a forensic lens before a live audience with agenda setting interviews, The programme is being led by Symeon Brown with Toby Bakare as editor-in-chief and programme editor , respectively.
Behind the camera
Over the past year the project has galvanised Channel 4 and our partners to seek advice, look at the programmes we make and how we make them, and take steps that will make our industry more representative. The Black to Front Project is not just about the day. It is about the legacy which we’re creating along the way and beyond.
Off-screen, The Black to Front Project is an opportunity to make a significant difference and increase the number of Black talent working behind the camera. We have worked with The Sir Lenny Henry Centre for Media Diversity to ensure The Black to Front Project will have a lasting impact, with more Black talent working in and progressing in the TV industry directly as a result of these interventions.
We are supporting production partners to do this in a number of ways; encouraging hiring from a wider pool of talent and seeking out and sharing details of Black talent widely; Channel 4 funded progression placements to enable Black talent to make a paid and credited step-up in seniority and making sure we feedback what we learn from The Black to Front Project to the industry as a whole.
What is next?
We have put steps in place to make sure that what we learn on this project will help us make wider changes to make TV more inclusive for talent from all under-represented backgrounds.
We have committed to reporting on all we have learned from this project and will share our learnings widely. It will also shape how we work in the future and we will share this information with viewers and the industry by the end of the year.