TV presenter Alison Hammond is hosting Alison Hammond: Back to School a one-off programme to throw some much-needed light on some of the inspiring Black figures whose stories have been hidden in Britain’s history.
The ITV programme will give viewers the ultimate school history trip told in Alison’s own unique and inimitable style.
The documentary will see Alison meeting historians, exploring the archives and visiting places where history has been made, celebrating Black heroes and bringing a fresh perspective to the traditional British history narrative.
Earlier this year we saw a different side to Alison following the horrific killing of George Floyd. Speaking about the impact this and the subsequent Black Lives Matter protests had on her during an interview on This Morning, Alison broke down and said: “Firstly, I’m a mother to a 15-year-old Black boy… So, when I saw that image of George Floyd, I saw my brothers, I saw my father, I saw my son. I saw everybody’s son, and I was disgusted to my core. And it hurt me to the pit of my stomach.”
“There’s a lot of Black history – my history – that I don’t know about.”
Speaking to The Guardian, Alison told how ITV producers reached out to her following her comments on the programme: “We got into a conversation about the fact that I’d told everybody that they needed to educate themselves.” Hammond realised the change needed to start with her. She said: “I was sitting there thinking do you know something; I might have to educate myself as well. There’s a lot of Black history – my history – that I don’t know about.”
That’s how the concept for Alison Hammond: Back to School, was born. Appropriately airing during October’s Black History Month, the documentary, as she explained to The Guardian, will profile often overlooked, figures from Black British history including “the British-Jamaican nurse Mary Seacole; Septimius Severus – the first Black Roman emperor; the Black Tudor trumpeter John Blanke; and Walter Tull, who was the first Black soldier in the British army to lead white soldiers into battle.”
View this post on Instagram
Excited to announce that I'm working with @ITV to bring you Alison Hammond: Back To School! I'm travelling to key historical sites across Britain – from Hadrian's Wall to Hampton Court – to learn about black figures throughout the ages who have been overlooked in the pages of British history. I'll be meeting with expert historians to get an insight into the significance of black people in British history and I'll be exploring the current teaching of history in our schools. Stay tuned…
It goes without saying that the school curriculum is severely lacking when it comes to telling the whole truth about what part Black people played in British history. Which is why programmes such as this are extremely important. During the interview, Alison explained her motivation for taking on the project. She said: “It’s my duty to do this for my son, for other kids. I just think it’s important.”
Alison Hammond: Back to School will air on ITV on Tuesday 6 Oct 2020.