Black History Month UK sees greater efforts to showcase TV and films highlighting Black culture across many channels in the UK. Check out our list of the best ones to watch and where to watch them.
While at Melan Magazine we celebrate the impact and contributions of Black people 365 days a year, Black History Month is where there is more focus of Black British talent on TV screens in the UK. It’s clear that there is still a way to go, but we welcome the steps being made to improve diversity in the entertainment industry.
If you’re lucky enough to have some downtime planned for October, check out the Melan Magazine list of what to watch across several TV channels in the UK.
What to watch: Black History Month UK
DNA Journey (ITV)
This Morning‘s Alison Hammond took a trip to discover more about her history and ancestors alongside Good Morning Britain’s Kate Garraway on the DNA Journey docuseries. In the documentary, the two travel from Bristol, London to Jamaica to discover more about their roots and connection to their ancestors. What does Alison discover about her family history? This episode of DNA history is now available to watch on ITV hub.
Sorry, I Didn’t Know (ITV)
Sorry, I Didn’t Know returns for a third series this month as the gameshow continues to educate its viewers about Black history. Hosted by Bel-Air actor Jimmy Akingbola, Holby City’s Chizzy Akudolu and Judi Love, the show airs every Sunday evening in October on ITV at 10.20pm.
ITV Fresh Cuts (ITV)
For Black History Month UK, ITV has commissioned a series of five documentaries for their Fresh Cuts series. Each documentary airs on Sunday night at 10.45pm, right after Sorry, I Didn’t Know. The documentaries explore different topics affecting the Black community. The first documentary, Everybody Can Wrap, follows rapper Youngs Teflon teaching three people from completely different backgrounds how to rap for a live performance.
The second documentary, The Bottom Line, looks at the rise of the Brazilian But Lift (BBL) surgery and revealed the shocking statistic that 1 in 3,000 people die from the surgery.
Next, Our Jubilee directed by Jason Osborne looks at a social history of Britain through the eyes of Black Britons in the Queen’s Jubilee years.
The Ink Life by Yemi Adegbulu airs on Sunday 23 October and explores tattoos in Black British culture. Finally, the last documentary in the series looks at Slam Dunk by David Adeyemi and looks at Black, British and Basketball.
Virgil Abloh: How To Be Both (BBC)
On 28 November 2021, fashion designer and founder of the streetwear brand, Off-White clothing died from cancer. To honour his legacy, BBC Three aired a documentary this month about the former artistic director of Louis Vuitton’s menswear’s life and how he ascended to become the legendary designer that he is recognised for. The documentary is now available to watch on BBC iPlayer.
Unapologetic (Channel 4)
In 2021, Channel 4 started an initiative, titled Black to Front that focused on highlighting Black British talent. This included commissioning the talk show series, Unapologetic for the very first time. This Black History Month, it will be returning for a second series. Starring social commentator Zeze Mills and Capital Xtra radio presenter, Yinka Bokinni. As the name suggests, Unapologetic boldly talks about topics that affect the Black community. Series two of Unapologetic starts on 19 October on Channel 4 at 11.05pm.
Judi Love: Black Female and Invisible (Channel 4)
Through this Channel 4 documentary, Judi Love is set to explore the struggles Black women go through in society. From health, to education, the Loose Women panelist embarks on this emotional journey in this film. Judi Love: Black Female and Invisible will air on Monday 17 October at 11.05pm.
Just Jokes (UKTV Play)
Just Jokes is a new show that is now available on UKTV Play. The show features a host of Black comedians and performers and how they deal with hecklers, prejudice on the circuit, and growing up Black. It is available now on UKTV Play.
Wendell & Wild (Netflix)
October 28 is the release date of Netflix’s stop-motion horror comedy film Wendell & Wild. From the minds of Henry Selick and Jordan Peele comes Wendell & Wild, an animated tale about scheming demon brothers Wendell (Keegan-Michael Key) and Wild (Peele), who enlist the aid of 13-year-old Kat Elliot — a tough teen with a load of guilt — to summon them to the Land of the Living. But what Kat demands in return leads to a brilliantly bizarre and comedic adventure like no other, an animated fantasy that defies the law of life and death, all told through the handmade artistry of stop motion.
Documentary filmmaker Margaret Brown (“The Order of Myths”, “The Great Invisible”) returns to her hometown of Mobile, Alabama to document the search for and historic discovery of The Clotilda, the last known ship to arrive in the United States in 1860, illegally carrying enslaved Africans. After a century of secrecy and speculation, the 2019 discovery of the ship turns attention toward the descendant community of Africatown and presents a moving portrait of a community actively grappling with and fighting to preserve their heritage while examining what justice looks like today.
Descendant will be available to stream on Netflix from 21 October.
The Curse Of Bridge Hollow (Netflix)
A father (Marlon Wayans) and his teenage daughter (Priah Ferguson) are forced to team up and save their town after an ancient and mischievous spirit causes Halloween decorations to come to life and wreak havoc. Watch this alone to see the gorgeous Kelly Rowland. This is a family friendly film that’s perfect for Halloween weekend! Available on Netflix from 14 October.
From Scratch (Netflix)
Inspired by the memoir, From Scratch is a cross-cultural love story that follows Amahle “Amy” Wheeler (played by Zoe Saldaña) an American student studying abroad in Italy, as she meets and falls in love with Lino, a Sicilian chef.
Their whirlwind romance faces many unforeseen challenges, including their very different cultural backgrounds; true to real life, it is also infused with lightheartedness and moments of humor that exist alongside the more serious ones. But when Lino is faced with unimaginable health challenges and the couple’s future is threatened, the two families come together to create an extended family unlike any they could have imagined, proving that love crosses all borders. From Scratch is a limited series starting from 21 October.
Gangs of London S2 (Sky Atlantic)
Set one year after the violent reckonings of series one. Since the Wallace Dumani empire collapsed, order is lacking, and the chaos of a gold rush threatens the city with gangland anarchy.
Seasons 2 kicks off one year after the death of Sean Wallace and the violent reckonings of series one, the map and soul of London has been redrawn. Who will win the battle for London’s soul? The returning ensemble cast includes Sope Dìrísù, Michelle Fairley, Brian Vernel, Pippa Bennett-Warner, Lucian Msamati and Paapa Essiedu. The BAFTA winning series returns 20 October.