You are here

  1. Home
  2. New BBC/OU series: “We are Black and British”

New BBC/OU series: “We are Black and British”

A group of 6 black men and women, sitting in a lounge area, drinking tea together. Image credit- Cardiff Productions

We are Black and British, a two-part series co-produced by the BBC and the OU, brings together six black Britons from very different backgrounds and viewpoints to share their personal stories and debate being black and British.

Academics from the Faculty of WELS, Dr Naomi Watson, Senior Lecturer in Nursing, and Dr Anthony Gunter, Senior Lecturer in Childhood and Youth Studies, provided their research expertise to the series, alongside Dr Ayobami Ilori from the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.

Dr Anthony Gunter – Senior Lecturer in Childhood & Youth Studies, Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies (WELS) said:
“It is an unusual premise for a series; a reality show which is almost like a Black “Big Brother” house. It could divide viewers, but it will hopefully begin conversations too and perhaps allow people to better understand the complexities, nuances and challenges of being Black and British today.”

The six people featured in the programme, including a political commentator, security guard mother of two, drill rapper, university professor, NHS doctor, and litigation contractor, each bringing their own deeply personal experiences, come together to live for a short period under one roof. At a time when debates about race and racism in the UK have sparked a nationwide discussion about history, culture, and change, the group share experiences of school, encounters with police, and coming out as gay. The episodes see them confront their differences, hoping to find answers from each other and from those influencers and policy makers who are trying to change Britain.

Dr Naomi Watson – Senior Lecturer in Nursing, WELS:
“The series deals with difficult topics in an interesting and very social way.  It should allow for some further thought which could help move us forward in this debate.”


Dr Watson and Dr Gunter explore the black British experience more deeply, bringing out themes from their own research areas, in articles created in support of the programme.

Dr Watson looks at the representation of black people in the NHS and their often-problematic relationship with it, including the current situation in an NHS which is considered to be inequitable, as well as drawing on research about black women’s health and initiatives to empower them. For example, a recent report into maternity services in the UK highlighted that women from black and ethnic minority backgrounds are four times more likely than white women to die in childbirth (MBRACE-UK, 2020).

Dr Gunter explores what it’s like to be black and British in the policing and criminal justice system. He identifies that the disproportionate punitive treatment of Black African-Caribbean children and young people in the UK education and criminal justice systems are contentious issues dating back to the 1970s, but remain today. As of May 2020, 40% of the youth custodial population were from a Black or Mixed background, whereas the general 10–17 population is only 4% Black and 4% Mixed.



We are Black and British airs on BBCTwo at 21:00 on 23 and 24 February 2022.

Find out more about We are Black and British on the BBC website.

Visit the OU’s Broadcast and Partnerships website, for more resources about the topics related to the programme including the full articles by Dr’s Gunter and Watson, and further information on the academics involved.



Main image credit: Cardiff Productions.

MBRACE UK (2020) Saving Lives, Improving Mothers’ care. Available at:

Are you already an OU student?

Go to StudentHome

Request your prospectus

Request a prospectus icon

Explore our qualifications and courses by requesting one of our prospectuses today.

Request prospectus