Channel 4 will host 'Black Takeover Day' in 2021

Channel 4 will host ‘Black Takeover Day’ in 2021 with Celebrity Gogglebox, Countdown and Hollyoaks showcasing black talent ‘on and off screen’ as Big Breakfast returns for one-off special

  • Network to disrupt its regular schedule and reimagine some of its biggest shows
  • Flagship programmes to star and be hosted by black talent throughout the day 
  • Bosses also looking at a sitcom, prime-time series and topical discussion show 

Channel 4 will host a ‘Black Takeover Day’ next year with flagship programmes such as Celebrity Gogglebox, Countdown, Hollyoaks and the news all presented by and starring black talent.

Network favourite The Big Breakfast will also return for a one-off special, hosted by Mo Gilligan, to kick off a day of programming like none other, to mark a year since the international protests and debates sparked by the killing of George Floyd.

From breakfast right through to late night, Channel 4 will disrupt its regular schedule and reimagine some of its biggest shows while also introducing new programmes led by black talent.

Network favourite The Big Breakfast will return for a one-off special, hosted by Mo Gilligan, pictured, during the ‘Black Takeover Day’

Channel 4 stalwarts such as Celebrity Gogglebox, pictured, will feature an all-black lineup 

Bosses are hoping to bring forward a new sitcom, an unscripted prime-time series providing ‘an authentic look at black lives on screen’ as well as a new one-off late-night live topical discussion show.

Channel 4 stalwarts such as Celebrity Gogglebox, Countdown and the news programme will all feature an all-black presenting and reporting team, while Hollyoaks will be an hour-long special entirely written, directed and performed by its black talent.

Ian Katz, Director of Programmes said: ‘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.’

The network hopes the takeover will ‘amplify the conversations around representation and diversity’ with the event leading into Black History Month 2021.

TV chiefs have also asked The Sir Lenny Henry Centre for Media Diversity to help shape ‘ambitious and meaningful off-screen commitments’ to leave a lasting legacy and ensure specific problems in the industry are addressed. 

Comedian Mo 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!’

The project was conceived by commissioning editors Vivienne Molokwu and Shaminder Nahal and will be led by Deputy Director of Programmes, Kelly Webb-Lamb with Vivienne and Shaminder working across the whole day. 

Hollyoaks will feature an all-black cast, with current performers including (left to right) Richard Blackwood (Felix), Kelle Bryan (Martine), Imran Adams (Mitchell), Rachel Adedeji (Lisa). Bottom (left to right) Trevor A Toussaint (Walter), Bobby Gordon (Toby), Andrea Ali (Celeste)

Head of Creative Diversity Babita Bahal will oversee on and off-screen commitments alongside Head of Commissioning Management Emma Hardy. 

Kelly Webb-Lamb, Deputy Director of Programmes and Head of Popular Factual said: ‘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.’

Marcus Ryder, Visiting Professor, Sir Lenny Henry Centre for Media Diversity added: ‘We are excited about the prospect of working with Channel 4 on this project. The role of the Sir Lenny Henry Centre for Media Diversity is to engage constructively with media stakeholders to help them create meaningful and long-term change.’

The Black Takeover Day is scheduled for autumn 2021. 

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