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Channel 4 to air documentary on ‘the talk’ black parents have with children

The film will feature a cast of leading black public figures sharing memories of the talks they have given or received.


Channel 4 headquarters (Philip Toscano/PA)

Channel 4 headquarters (Philip Toscano/PA)

Channel 4 headquarters (Philip Toscano/PA)

A new Channel 4 documentary will detail the conversation many black parents have with their children to explain that their skin colour will mark them out for prejudice and challenges not faced by white people.

The film, provisionally titled The Talk, will feature leading black public figures sharing memories of the talks they have given or received, contextualised by family archives or an event that triggered the talk, such as a prominent death in police custody.

It will be part of a series of programmes exploring different aspects of the black experience in modern Britain.

Black children often receive their first talk between the ages of four and seven and it is described as “the day a child loses their innocence”.

Channel 4 said: “Parents have to explain that, because of the colour of their skin, some people think they are less worthy of respect.

“Children are taught what to expect and how to react; advice based on experiences suffered by family, friends and neighbours.”

The film will be directed by Geoff Small and executive produced by Maxine Watson with Patrick Younge, the managing director of Cardiff Productions, and Sunil Patel, chief executive of production company Whisper.

Mr Patel said: “We approached Channel 4 with the idea to co-fund an important film that could help raise awareness of racism and generate change.

“The Talk (working title) is set to be a compelling watch on a subject matter that we, as a company, are very passionate about.

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“We have always been committed to creating a company that reflects the diverse society we live and work in – be that BAME, disability, gender or age – but we can always do more.

“We want to help educate, in this case with a thought-provoking, engaging production, and to celebrate the work of black directors, producers, writers and DOPs (directors of photography), such as Patrick, Geoff and Maxine. This film felt like absolutely the right thing to do and it’s good to make it happen.”

Fatima Salaria, head of the specialist factual at Channel 4, said: “After George Floyd’s death Sunil and Patrick both independently got in touch with me and I asked them to work together on this brilliant idea of Pat’s.

“Together they have recruited leading black talent to make what promises to be really authentic television that will reflect the reality of black British lives and raise questions about race in modern Britain.

“I’m grateful to Whisper for helping make this work financially and their real commitment to telling these stories and supporting black filmmakers.”

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