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August 27, 2020 |

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UK’s ITV orders comedy panel show as part of Black History Month slate

UK commercial broadcaster ITV has unveiled plans to mark Black History Month with specially commissioned new shows throughout October.

ITV said the slate would “celebrate the contribution of black people to television, comedy, history and our wider culture”, with new shows including a four-part comedy panel show that tests and teases players’ and audiences knowledge of untold stories and unsung heroes.

Sorry I Didn’t Know is from TriForce Productions and is joined on the slate by one-off special Alison Hammond: Back To School (w/t), which is from ITV Studios Daytime. It will follow Hammond as she travels to key historical sites in the UK to explore an alternative view of history.

Elsewhere, Black Comedy Legends (w/t) is a 60-minute special from Big Deal Films that will reflect on some of the greatest and sometimes forgotten Black comedy stars, while studio show Charlene And Friends (w/t) is aimed at young people and will transmit simultaneously on kids channel CITV and flagship ITV.

The format will feature films, discussion, animation and music from young talent while providing a “vibrant focus on racism”. It is being produced by ITN Productions.

Satmohan Panesar, who has overseen commissioning for Black History Month, said: “These programmes span factual, entertainment and children’s in an effort to reach out to viewers across the board at all levels.

“We hope viewers will enjoy the incredible stories, wonderful entertainment and fascinating people they focus on as we look at Britain from a vital and different perspective and celebrate the contribution of black people to Britain’s story, our culture and our lives.”

The broadcaster said that two of the original main channel commissions are being made by BAME-led indies and off-screen BAME producers will take on development opportunities as they progress their careers in line with ITV’s Step Up 60 initiative.

Panesar added: “Diversity on-screen must be accompanied by a commitment to diversity off-screen, with first time ITV primetime directing credits for [Ryan] Samuda and [Mariam] Hussain and [Anna] Manton taking the reigns as a new series producer. We look forward to watching their progress in the industry.”

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