The BBC has announced a new season of themed programming which celebrates black history and culture and their impact on the UK.
Black and British Season will bring content on what is means to be black and British to the BBC’s TV, online and radio outlets this November.
The season’s TV content ranges from one-off documentaries to sitcoms, airing on BBC Two and BBC Four.
BBC Two will add Black & British: A Forgotten History to its schedule. Presented and written by acclaimed historian David Olusoga, the programme is a four-part documentary series revealing the untold history of black people in Britain.
Drawing on new genetic evidence, Olusoga tells of the African soldiers who guarded Hadrian’s Wall in the third century AD, and introduces us to Queen Victoria’s African goddaughter.
Also coming to the channel is Black is the New Black, where 40 influential figures from the worlds of politics, culture, science and business share their experiences of being black and British. Some stories are particularly poignant, including tales of the racism faced by some of the contributors’ parents after they came to Britain. The series will feature Naomi Campbell, Malorie Blackman, Lenny Henry, Reggie Yates and Tinie Tempah.
Further BBC Two commissions include Will Britain Ever Have a Black Prime Minister? which sees actor David Harewood explore inequality of opportunity between black and white people in Britain.
BBC Four will air a new documentary, presented by rapper and political commentator Akala. Roots Reggae Rebellion tells the story of 1970s Jamaica, when a small group of reggae musicians took songs of black power and revolution to the international stage. Profiling artists such as Bob Marley and Big Youth, the programme explores how reggae provided Jamaicans with hope in the face of poverty, gang crime and political turmoil.
Other BBC Four commissions include Black Midwives, which tells of the thousands of Caribbean women drafted in to help Britain build its NHS, and Young, Gifted and Classical: The Making of a Maestro, a documentary on Sheku Kanneh-Mason, the first black winner of BBC Young Musician of the Year.
Comedian Dane Baptiste will premiere new sitcom Sunny D on BBC iPlayer. In what the BBC called “an irreverent and anarchic take on the sitcom,” Baptiste plays a man with a taste for the finer things in life, but who still lives in his childhood bedroom at his parents’ house.
The show features comics from the urban stand-up circuit, as well as Don Warrington (Rising Damp).
Speaking at the Black and British Season launch earlier this week, BBC Two Channel Editor Patrick Holland said: “As commissioners and producers we must do more across the whole schedule to make television that reflects modern Britain.
“Producing a season doesn’t mean we can tell ourselves we have told the story of black Britain, and can move on.
“The season is there to challenge our point of view, question the way we make our cultural and political decisions and create a legacy for the way we engage with the black British experience in the future,” he said.