Comedian Mo Gilligan will front a one-off revived version of the The Big Breakfast show on Channel 4 as part of a renewed push to showcase Black talent on and off screen on the channel.
The one-off show was announced at the Edinburgh TV Festival and will be broadcast in 2021, kickstarting an entire day of programming that will see the channel reimagine some of its biggest mainstream shows with Black talent.
It will mark a year since the international protests and debates sparked by the killing of George Floyd and lead into Black History Month 2021.
Black Takeover day intends to amplify the conversations around representation and diversity, starting with The Big Breakfast fronted by Gilligan and also including some of Channel 4’s biggest flagship shows.
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!”
As part of the takeover, Celebrity Gogglebox and Countdown will both have all-Black editions, while Channel 4 News will see an all-Black presenting and reporting team.
Meanwhile, Hollyoaks will see an hour-long special entirely written, directed and performed by its Black talent.
In a bid to ensure the project drives significant and sustainable change within the industry off-screen, the channel has also asked The Sir Lenny Henry Centre for Media Diversity to help shape ambitious and meaningful off-screen commitments.
Ian Katz, Director of Programmes, said of the project, “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.”
Elsewhere, other announcements made by Channel 4 at the Edinburgh TV Festival include a viewer-voted comedy awards show set to air in 2021 in aid of Stand Up To Cancer that brings together the year’s best-loved comedy stars and a new show which will see comedian Rosie Jones go on “A Great British, Female, Gay, Disabled, COVID Compliant Adventure”.
The channel also announced a new drama series from the studio behind The End of the F***ing World, titled The Birth of Daniel F Harris.
The eight-part series comes from writer Pete Jackson and tells of a boy who has grown up locked away from the world after his mother died when he was a baby, but who has to face the realities of life upon his 18th birthday.
Lee Mason, Channel 4 Commissioning Editor says: “Pete Jackson has crafted a uniquely bold and beautiful piece of storytelling that imaginatively taps in to the experiences of many young people today.
“Pete’s voice and The Birth of Daniel F Harris belong on Channel 4 and, alongside Clerkenwell who are the perfect producers for the series, I can’t wait to see the series come to life.”
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