This September, Black to Front, Channel 4’s groundbreaking diversity project, will feature AJ Odudu and Sir Trevor McDonald. Channel 4 will broadcast programming featuring Black talent for 24 hours to champion the voices and stories of Black people, and to spotlight the incredible black talent that makes, shapes, and stars in British television.
The Big Breakfast will take place from its original home in East London’s Lock Keepers’ Cottages as AJ Odudu co-hosts with Bafta-winner Mo Gilligan and original newsreader Phil Gayle returns to read the news.
A staple of the channel’s morning schedule from 1992 to 2002, The Big Breakfast defied the rules for breakfast telly. The Black to Front special maintains plenty of its anarchic spirit, risqué sense of humour and distinctive energy, with a mixture of famous guests flanking the presenters to kick start the day.
Channel 4’s longest-running show, Countdown, will be hosted by eminent journalist and broadcaster Sir Trevor McDonald. Joining Sir Trevor in the Salford studio will be acclaimed poet and playwright Lemn Sissay OBE, who will adjudicate the words from Dictionary Corner and maths prodigy Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon MBE, who will bring her arithmetical expertise to the numbers round. Lemn will be joined in Dictionary Corner by special guest, award-winning journalist & beer sommelier Marverine Cole.
AJ Odudu said, “I absolutely can’t wait to get stuck into The Big Breakfast. It is such an iconic show to be part of, and I am buzzing it is finally coming back! I’m so looking forward to working with Mo and I can’t wait to wake up the nation! I’m thrilled to be part of Channel 4’s Black to Front – which quite rightly gives a platform to deserving Black British TV talent across our industry, both on and off-screen. It’s going to be really special. ’
Sir Trevor McDonald said, “I am proud and delighted to be presenting Countdown on this special day; I have always enjoyed watching Countdown, a show that has been around for almost as long as I have! “
Kelly Webb-Lamb, Channel 4’s Deputy Director of Programmes, said, “From the voices that introduce the shows to the people appearing on screen, across social and All 4, the entire day will be fronted by Black talent and will tell the stories of Black British communities in a demonstration of Black excellence. Behind the camera, Channel 4 is working together with our production partners to shape ambitious and meaningful off-screen commitments, making sure that Black to Front lives on beyond one day, accelerating careers and bringing about significant change that will leave a lasting legacy across the UK TV industry.
As part of Channel 4’s ongoing effort to improve Black representation on and off-screen, Black to Front was planned over a year ago in collaboration with numerous production partners. Some of Channel 4’s most iconic shows will feature Black talent from breakfast to late night, offering viewers a new perspective on old favourites.
With its anti-racist stance, Channel 4 has worked with producers, program makers, and the Sir Lenny Henry Centre for Media Diversity to identify and remove barriers to inclusion for underrepresented talent.
The project was conceived by commissioning editors Vivienne Molokwu and Shaminder Nahal. It will be led by Deputy Director of Programmes, Kelly Webb-Lamb, with Vivienne and Shaminder working across the whole day with Melissa Cousins as Project Coordinator. Head of Creative Diversity Babita Bahal and Director of Commissioning Operations Emma Hardy are also part of the core team.