Britain’s most loved presenters open up about the importance of representation in TV in new documentary

Colourful collage Image of ITV presenters Katie Piper, Charlene White, Andy Peters and Lorraine Kelly.

A moving new documentary ‘Becoming The Person I Wanted To See’ features some of Britain’s most loved presenters opening up about the importance of representation in television and the impact that both positive and negative on-screen representation has had on their careers.

In the documentary, presenters Lorraine Kelly CBE, Andi Peters, Katie Piper OBE, Ranvir Singh and Charlene White share personal anecdotes and speak candidly about the obstacles they have faced while working in the industry, how they overcame them and the challenges that they are still facing today.

Andi Peters reflects particularly on how his race impacted his 30-year-long TV career and pleads with people to never let the colour of their skin hold them back from success.

He said: “I get upset when people don’t believe in themselves, don’t let the colour of your skin ever hold you back. Don’t let who you are ever hold you back. Everyone can achieve, it might be harder for you, and you might have to battle, but believe in yourself and eventually somebody else will believe in you.”

Screengrab of Andy Peters speaking in the documentary

Loose Women’s Charlene White, who became the first black woman to present ITV News at Ten in 2014, spoke about the personal responsibility that she feels when it comes to representing the next generation of black female broadcasters.

She said: “I’d love to see more action… and being more forward-thinking and taking chances. I understand the impact of me rocking up on TV news with my hair like this. I understand the impact that can have on black girls up and down the country and I know how empowered they will feel seeing me. It’s never a responsibility that I’ve taken lightly, and I’ll continue rustling feathers as a result!”

Screengrab of Charlene White speaking in the documentary

Household name Lorraine Kelly spoke about the negative experiences she faced in her early career due to her Scottish accent and the lack of representation on TV at the time.

She said: “Nobody sounded like me at all on the telly, even when you watch the news in Scotland… so I didn’t really have anybody in a sense to identify with. I remember vividly when I worked for BBC Scotland being told that I would never make it on air by the big boss, because of my accent”

Screengrab of Lorraine Kelly speaking in the documentary.

Good Morning Britain’s Ranvir Sing shared an experience early on in her broadcasting career that motivated her to put herself at the forefront to be noticed, and which she says helped her to become the person she is today.

She said: “What was really upsetting but also at the same time weirdly reassuring, was that all the other decent white people in the office knew I wasn’t being spoken to in the same way that other women with my same inexperience were being treated, and none of them stepped in. And do you know what… everything I’ve done since then is a f*ck you to that. Everything I’ve done since then has been – you ignored me; I’ll make sure you can never ignore me [again].”

Screengrab ofan emotional Ranvir Singh speaking in the documentary

Loose Women’s Katie Piper, who survived a horrific acid attack which left her with permanent scarring to her face and body and blind in one eye, also appeared on the show to discuss her experiences as a person with a facial disfigurement trying to break into television, how underrepresented she felt and the further work that needs to be done to improve diversity in television.

She said: “Some good, some bad… I also feel some sadness that I didn’t see representation when I most needed it in my life. I thought I would never make it on TV because of my accident. It was 15 years ago I was burnt, and TV was a place for beautiful people, not burnt people. Working on Loose Women is a place [where] I forget that I’m burnt and that’s when I know I’m at my most happy – that’s how I can really judge it. I think what needs to be done, is that I’m not the only one. I don’t have any colleagues with a facial disfigurement.”

Screengrab of Katie Piper speaking in the documentary

Yiljan Nevzat, Filmmaker and Loose Women Deputy Editor said: “Coming from a minority background myself, it was important for me to not only celebrate representation but also allow for a candid, emotional conversation about what it really means to be diverse. The importance of diversity both on and off screen is paramount, and I hope that this film invokes change in both spaces.”

Watch Becoming The Person I Wanted on ITV Hub.

https://www.itv.com/watch/becoming-the-person-i-wanted-to-see/10a3938

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