Our TV picks for Black History Month UK 2022
Updated: Mar 20
Black Power: A British Story of Resistance
Originally aired in March 2021 this programme exams the Black Power movement in the late 1960s in the UK, surveying both the individuals and the cultural forces that defined the era.
At the heart of the documentary is a series of astonishing interviews with past activists, many of whom are speaking for the first time about what it was really like to be involved in the British Black Power movement, bringing to life one of the key cultural revolutions in the history of the nation.
Charlene White: Empire’s Child streaming on ITV player
Broadcaster Charlene White takes an eventful journey into her past. Follow her as she explores how the legacy of the British Empire has shaped her family's history. Loose Women anchor, Charlene White describes “It’s a story about who we all are as British people”.
Troy Deeney: Where’s My History? Streaming on All 4
Footballer and anti-racism campaigner Troy Deeney sets out on a mission to get Black, Asian and minority ethnic histories and experiences on the curriculum in schools across the UK.
Una Marson: Our Lost Caribbean Voice streaming on BBC iplayer
The extraordinary story of Una Marson, a trailblazing poet, playwright and campaigner, and the first black producer and broadcaster at the BBC.
A Caribbean woman born in the early 1900s, Una defied the limits society placed on her. Joining the BBC’s Empire Service during World War II, she was the first broadcaster to give voice to Caribbean writers and intellectuals, bringing their stories and culture to a global audience accustomed to hearing only English accents.
During her time in London, Una wrote and produced a play for London’s West End, the first black writer to do so. She was also an activist, championing women’s rights, the rights of black people, literacy programmes and the education of children, and working with the deposed Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie.
Una’s writing, letters and her BBC personnel file are used to gain a unique insight into her life and work, while leading academics and her friends consider Una’s life as a black woman in a professional role in Britain at a time when that was highly unusual - and had significant personal costs attached.
Fresh Cuts streaming on BBC iplayer
In celebration of Black History month, ITV have commissioned five rising Black filmmakers including David Adeyemi, Jason Osborne, and Yemi Adegbulu to produce a series of programmes exploring Black Britishness. The series includes a documentary exploring tattoos in British Black culture by following tattoo artists Sammy Inks, Nish Rowe and Tianna Tatts and their customers. While the Yemi Adegbulu helmed documentary follows basket ball players Melita Emanuel Carr and Jon Johnson and their teams as they battle their way through the Ball Out 3x3 tournament.
Focusing on black talent....
TOGETHER WE RISE: The Uncompromised story of GRM Daily available on Youtube
Featuring interviews from the likes of Stormzy, Giggs, Kano, Ms Banks, JME and Dizzee Rascal, the docuseries tells the story of a generation through the game-changing channel, GRM Daily and its founder Posty - the young, Black, British entrepreneur who helped contribute towards giving a new generation of talent opportunities via a global platform which in turn became a benchmark for their success.
Mo Gilligan & Friends: The Black British Takeover streaming on All 4
Filmed at the O2 Arena in December 2021, this show features some of the best British comedians, from Eddie Kadi to Ola Labib, plus music from The Compozers.
Jungle streaming on Prime Video UK
UK rap culture brings you a crime drama like nothing you’ve seen before. In a near-future London, two young men try to better themselves, but are forced to face the consequences of their actions.
Mood streaming on BBC iplayer
Debuting earlier this year, this six-part drama was written and executively produced by the multi-talented Nicole Lecky, who also stars in the series. Mood centres on an aspiring singer and rapper who becomes wrapped up in alluring world of social media influencing.
The show is inspired by real events and touches upon themes such as how young women navigate social media today, and the blurred distinction between liberation and exploitation that exists both online and in real life.
“I originally wrote the story because I saw this website where men were shaming these actresses, dancers, models for secretly being sex workers,” Lecky clarified. “I was really shocked by that, and I just felt really compelled to write about it.”
Harder they Fall streaming on Netflix
Premiered on Netflix in November 2021, this western film was directed and co-written by multi-hyphened UK Black creative Jemel Samuel. This Black western has all star cast including Idris Elba, Johnathon Majors, Regina King, Zazie Beetz, and Lakeith Stanfield. Its characters are loosely based on real cowboys, lawmen, and outlaws of the 19th century American West. The story follows outlaw Nat Love and his gang who are seeking revenge by taking down enemy Rufus Buck, a ruthless crime boss who just got sprung from prison.
You Don’t Know Me streaming on BBC iplayer and Netflix UK
If you haven’t already watched this smart courtroom drama, then this month is a great time. The four-part series stars Samuel Adewunmi as the accused, known only as ‘Hero’. A young car salesman from South London who has been charged with murder of an acquaintance. As all the evidence points to him being guilty of the crime, there is only so much Hero can do to prove his innocence to the court. Filled with unusual twists that makes you think – can someone be morally in the right while legally in the wrong? – and strong performances from lead actor Adewunmi and his supporting cast.
Photo credits: Mo Gilligan & Friends: The Black British Takeover. Conor O'Leary/Channel 4