On Friday, 10th September, as part of Channel 4’s Black to Front day of programming, which will see the regular schedule disrupted to broadcast a day of television showcasing Black talent, A Place in the Sun will air a special episode hosted by Jean Johansson and featuring Black house hunters.
The couple, Clement and Tracey Ann, will be shown around some lovely locations in Spain before deciding whether they want to set up home abroad.
The aim of the one-off episode is to show Channel 4’s ongoing commitment as an anti-racist organisation to improve Black representation on and off screen and drive long-term change.
However, Jean says there were some particular “issues” with putting together the special episode, with the show struggling to find a Black agent in Spain to show them around the property.
Speaking exclusively to RadioTimes.com, she explained: “It would have been nice to have a Black agent to show us around the luxury property on the show, but we couldn’t find one in the South of Spain. So, these are the sort of issues that come up when you’re doing something like this, but the episode centres around a Black couple.”
Jean says it was also difficult to achieve “complete Black talent” behind the camera, adding: “We wanted complete Black talent behind the camera and we couldn’t achieve that. We didn’t have a Black cameraman, we didn’t have a Black sound engineer – and I’ve been in this business 22 years, and I’ve never came across a Black cameraman, or sound engineer.”
In order to see change and have more diversity on or off camera the presenter says the work needs to start in schools.
“For me, it’s very much important that the diversity is created behind the camera and for that we need to be doing it from careers advice in school, to colleges, to tech colleges ,to media courses and universities,” she explained. “We need to make sure that ethnic communities know they are welcome on these courses and they can have a job in the media. They may not feel welcomed, because of the lack of on-screen representation, let alone, not knowing who’s behind the cameras.”
The presenter, who has been one of the A Place in the Sun presenters since 2019, is also calling for more Black house hunters to apply for the show.
She added: “The point for me, with the Black to Front episode, is that we’re not hiding away from the fact that we don’t get as many Black couples. My sort of thing that I want most to take away from this episode is that everyone’s welcome on A Place in the Sun. The casting team are open to absolutely everyone.
“I don’t know the reasons why we wouldn’t have more Black couples applying for the show. I hope the message from this episode is to reinforce that no matter who you are, sexuality, race, religion, everybody’s welcome on A Place in the Sun. I want to turn up on a Sunday night to meet the house hunters before we start filming and see more ethnic minorities.”
The presenter is therefore hoping the special episode will “start conversation” and diversity in the TV industry will begin to happen more “naturally”.
She said: “I really hope for the day when we’re not clocking the colour of the presenter. It should be normal to see some Black presenters or some Asian presenters or some disabled presenters, or gay presenters, you know, that representation, because we live in Britain, which is such a diverse country, so of course our TV should represent that and it hasn’t for a whole host of reasons. But this is a one-off with the aim of starting conversations and keeping the conversations going. And it’s a big statement – and I hope it has a bigger ripple effect.”
A Place in the Sun’s Black to Front episode broadcasts at 3pm on Friday 10th September on Channel 4. Want something else to watch? Check out our full TV Guide or visit our Entertainment hub for the latest news.