Channel 4 has announced five new commissions to mark October’s Black History Month.
The documentaries will explore different aspects of the Black experience in modern Britain, including a look at romantic relationships, the celebration of black comedians, and an investigation into why Covid-19 cases are so prominent in Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic groups.
"I am really excited about the range of programming for Black History Month this year, particularly because we are launching new onscreen talent we hope will become regular faces on Channel 4,” said Danny Horan, Head of Factual at Channel 4.
“This is an important time to reflect, celebrate and consider again what has been achieved and how much more we, as a society and an industry, have to do redress the balance of storytelling, subjects and talent, both on and off screen."
Here are the five commissions under their working titles.
Black, British and Funny
Mo Gilligan celebrates the black comedians who have inspired and created a path for artists like him in the British comedy circuit.
Gilligan looks back at the history of Black stand-up comedy and questions why he is one of the few comedians to achieve mainstream success from a scene that has been thriving for 30 years yet remains overlooked.
He speaks to comedy icons from the late eighties to the new emerging talent, who are creating their own comedic paths on social media.
Gilligan commented: "My first big break came from the Black British comedy circuit. It’s an incredible scene packed full of outstanding artists. I am so proud and truly honoured to give it the attention it deserves through our film with Channel 4."
This documentary looks at the different ways in which hair shapes Black experiences in Britain, from the science behind what makes black hair different to the beauty routines that have become a rite of passage.
Emma Dabiri, broadcaster and author of Don’t Touch My Hair, asks people to talk about how their hair has shaped their identity and the complexities around how hair has become a celebrated and misunderstood part of the Black experience.
Black British couples share their own romantic experiences, from their first meetings to the difficult moments in their relationships.
Created by journalist and author Yomi Adegoke, the film explores the social, political and cultural landscape of love in the Black community and the creation of the hashtag #BlackLove, which, due to the lack of positive depictions in society, was created to showcase positive imagery of black families and couples.
Is Covid Racist?
Is Covid Racist? investigates why so many of the NHS Covid-19 victims are from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic groups and why more people of colour on the NHS frontline have died from the disease.
Dr Ronx fronts this part tribute and part investigation into the possible causes of these fatal statistics, the truths about health and race inequality in the UK, and what can be done to fix them.
Are Women The Fitter Sex?
Dr Ronx returns to present this investigation into why women live longer than men and are better at fighting disease.
Globally, 60% of Covid-19 deaths are men and the disease appears to be affecting men far worse than women.
The documentary will look into the new evidence that shows medical research is mainly carried out on men, including drug doses, treatments, medical equipment and safety systems, resulting in some medicines being less effective or more harmful to women.
Are Women The Fitter Sex? will also explore why women are more commonly misdiagnosed than men and more likely to die of a heart attack.
Dr Ronx will speak to experts, researchers and patients to find out if women are truly the fitter sex.
“The Covid-19 Pandemic has made us all think about how different variables can influence health outcomes,” said Dr Ronx.
“Worldwide more men than women are dying from Covid-19 and I want to know why. What is the other sex-based variables at play here? I look forward to meeting the experts and bringing the science to an ever-increasing health conscious Channel 4 audience.“