UK broadcasters add Nelson Mandela tributes and extended news coverage to schedules

ITV and the BBC celebrate the life and legacy of the former South African president following the announcement of his death on Thursday night

UK broadcasters add Nelson Mandela tributes and extended news coverage to schedules
Written By
Paul Jones

British broadcasters are reacting to the death of Nelson Mandela with extended news coverage and a host of tribute programmes.

Last night, BBC1 comedy Mrs Brown's Boys was interrupted for a report on the passing of the iconic former South African president and tonight the 9pm showing of Have I Got News for You wil move to 11:20pm, with Live at the Apollo dropped from its 9:30pm slot, to make way for documentary Nelson Mandela: The Fight for Freedom. This afternoon, an extended 1pm news programme will reflect on Mandela's life and legacy. 

BBC2 has extend both its 11am news programme and tonight's 10:30pm edition of Newsnight to provide coverage of Mandela's death and at 3pm BBC Parliament will show a 40-minute programme, A Tribute to Nelson Mandela, giving viewers a chance to see Mandela's historic 1996 address to Parliament and his 2007 speech at the unveiling of his statue in Parliament Square.

ITV drops tonight's horror film The Grudge 2 at 11:20pm, replacing it with Nelson Mandela: His Life And Legacy, which sees News at Ten presenter Mark Austin trace Mandela's journey from prisoner to President, visiting the key venues where his story unfolded, including the tiny hut he grew up in, the cell on Robben Island where he was imprisoned and the spot in Pretoria that saw him proclaimed President. Austin will also interview key figures in Mandela's long life – including former South Africa President FW de Klerk and fellow prisoner Mac Maharaj – to assess his lasting impact on the country and salute his enduring place in the world's heart.

That programme will be followed at 12:05am by South Africa 28 Up, which traces the lives of a group of children who lived through Mandela's release from prison and his election as president.

At 6:30pm this evening, Channel 5's Newstalk will also be a Mandela legacy programme.

Channel 4 will show Nelson Mandela Superstar tonight at 11:30pm, charting how Mandela became one of the most celebrated people on the planet, transcending politics to become a global icon, and also examining the role music played in the fall of apartheid. 

Sky1 screens retrospective documentary Nelson Mandela: the Struggle Is My Life at 8pm tonight, with the broadcaster's Freeview channel Pick showing it at 7pm on Saturday and Sky Atlantic airing it for a third time an hour later. Mandela also makes an appearance in a Sky Arts 2 programme about playwright Athol Fugard at 10pm on Monday.

The tributes continue on satellite channels with Nat Geo swapping in Breakout: Ten Doors to Freedom and Nelson Mandela: The Long Walk at 8pm and 9pm respectively on Friday night, with The Long Walk also now scheduled for 6pm on Saturday and 1pm on Sunday. Meanwhile, Discovery will screen the world premiere of David Harewood-narrated documentary The Making of Mandela tonight at 8pm.

An hour later, the History Channel is showing Madiba: the Life and Times of Nelson Mandela, followed at 10pm by Miracle Rising: South Africa, in which global leaders and celebrities tell the remarkable story of the country’s transition to democracy.

ITV4 will give viewers another chance to watch the 2001 Mandela Freedom Concert at 1:20am tonight, and at the more civilised time of 10:30pm on Saturday.

And on BBC3 on Sunday Russell Howard's Good News makes way at 9pm for Nelson Mandela: One Incredible Life.

Radio 4 listeners can hear Out of the Darkness, a one-hour obituary programme presented by BBC special correspondent Allan Little, tonight at 9pm, while tomorrow a From Our Own Correspondent Special at 11:30am will feature Fergal Keane, Milton Nkosi, James Robbins, John Simpson and Hamilton Wende, while at 8pm, in The Archive Hour: Making Mandela, Laurie Taylor tells the history of Britain’s anti-apartheid movement and how it took Mandela from obscurity to fame in the UK.

The news of Nelson Mandela's death was announced on Thursday night just after the royal premiere of Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, the biopic starring Idris Elba. Mandela passed away aged 95 following a long illness.


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