Steve McQueen who brought the Small Axe series to the BBC will executive produce both documentaries.
Black Power, for BBC Two and BBC iPlayer, is a searing account of the Black Power movement and Subnormal, commissioned for BBC One and iPlayer, which examines how black children in the 1960s and 1970s were disproportionately sent to schools for the so-called ‘educationally subnormal’. Both documentaries feature first-hand interviews with key participants in the events, many of whom are telling their stories for the first time.
Black Power examines how the Black Power movement came into being in the late 1960s and fought back against police brutality and racism. It features rare archive of Martin Luther King, Malcolm X and Stokely Carmichael’s activities in Britain, as well as footage of leading figures in the movement in the UK, Altheia Jones-LeCointe, Darcus Howe and Roy Sawh. It casts fresh light on the story of the young black people in the 60s and 70s who challenged the British establishment and helped to shape a new political and cultural landscape in the UK.
Examining one of the biggest scandals in the history of British education, Subnormal tells the story of how black parents, teachers and activists banded together to expose the injustice and force the education system to change. It explores the controversial debates on race and intelligence that led to the scandal and the devastating impact it had on the children affected.
Black Power directed by BAFTA-nominated George Amponsah (Hard Stop) and Subnormal by new talent Lyttanya Shannon were originated from an idea by Steve McQueen while working on Small Axe. McQueen is Executive Producer on both films, alongside James Rogan, Tracey Scoffield, and Soleta Rogan.
Steve McQueen, Executive Producer, says: “Looking at the past is an indication of what we have achieved today. These two documentaries show us how far we still have to travel for liberty and justice.”
Charlotte Moore, BBC Chief Content Officer, says: “These are important stories from our recent history that still resonate today. Steve McQueen has assembled a talented team of creatives to make these two documentaries that shine a light on the experiences of young black people from the 1960s and 1970s, sharing rare archive and enabling us to hear directly from key individuals, many speaking for the first time.”
BBC Studios will distribute the documentaries internationally.