ITV introduces black comedy shows ahead of MOBO Awards

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Black and ethnic minority representation in television has made numerous headlines this year and continues to do so, which is largely thanks to Lenny Henry. Not only did the headlines prompt public discussion on the issue, but some major British broadcasters released targets in an effort to improve the situation.

ITV has not released targets as of yet but ITV2 have decided to commission four comedy and comedy entertainment shows with a BAME focus, expected to air this Autumn. ITV’s Entertainment Commissioning Editor Asif Zubairy and Director of Digital Channels and Acquisitions Angela Jain picked up the four shows.

“It has always been a cornerstone of ITV2’s strategy to work with new talent and these shows are the perfect opportunity in the run up to the MOBOs, to bring some funny stuff to the telly from some people new to telly.” – Angela Jain

The shows will include a new program made by production company Unstoppable Inc called ‘The Ty and Ky Show’. It will be fronted by duo Tyrone-Lee Davis and Kieran Shekoni, and has brand new original characters, sketches and ideas, according to the pair who are cousins.

Kojo and Eddie Kadi will be among the well-known black British comedians featured in new stand-up show ‘The Comedy Basement’, a program said to “explore and demonstrate the wealth and depth of comedic talent in Britain’s vibrant black community.”

‘All About The Bants’, which features an all-star cast including rapper Tinchy Stryder, is described as lad culture meets hidden camera pranks.

The last show in the set features a brand new cast of emerging black and Asian comics who will take to the streets poking fun at prejudices and stereotypes around race in the UK, using a mix of hidden camera and character-based pranks. The (working) title of this one is questionable and is bound to raise some eyebrows. For now it’s called ‘Sniggaz’. Let’s hope it remains a working title because it’s certainly problematic…

October isn’t too far away now, which means that Black History Month will soon be upon us. Hopefully ITV will continue to make efforts to bring viewers a range of diverse programming beyond the MOBO Awards and Black History Month. It would be a shame if this turned out to be a one-off diversity stint but we won’t hold our breath.

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