Melvin Odoom has called for more representation in the TV industry ahead of the launch of the diverse reboot of The Big Breakfast.
The iconic 1990s show has been revamped with AJ Odudu and Mo Gilligan at the helm after the pair staged a one-off special as part of Channel 4’s Black To Front project last year.
Former Strictly star Melvin, 42, appeared in the special and will also be seen on the new series in a move he praised for promoting racial diversity on screen.
Speaking: Melvin Odoom has called for more representation in the TV industry ahead of the launch of the varied reboot of The Big Breakfast
When asked what it felt like to be part of the Black to Front initiative, where the entire Channel 4 program was led on and off the screen by black talent for a day, he said: ‘We made history.
“To put it this way – growing up I remember telling my mom I wanted to be a presenter and that was hard for her to process because there weren’t many examples of black talent on TV.
‘You probably had Lenny Henry and Trevor McDonald – two boys! Look at the abundance of talent we have in the world right now.”
Guess who’s back: The 1990s show has been revamped with AJ Odudu and Mo Gilligan at the helm after hosting a one-off special for Channel 4’s Black To Front project last year
He continued: ‘There were two black men on TV at the time that my mother could consult, so she couldn’t conceive of me becoming a TV presenter. That’s why representation is so important.
“Never in my life have I seen a breakfast show with so much amazing black talent in one room.
“You have one or two great black presenters on other channels at breakfast, but to have one show with so much black talent on television? Call me one. You will struggle, and it shouldn’t be a struggle. What we did that day was make history.’
Melvin said, “Growing up, I remember telling my mom I wanted to be a presenter and that was hard for her to handle because there weren’t many examples of black talent on TV”
On how the TV industry has fare with representation since then, Melvin added: “I think it’s opened their eyes because if I’m being completely honest, people are scared.
‘People are afraid because we live in a world where people don’t like change very much. Change is scary and it’s all about money, numbers and audience.
“So if you’re driven by audience numbers and other numbers, you stick with what you know – you go for the formats and presenters that are the safest ways to go down.”
“But really, there is so much talent. I’m not just saying it’s black people – there are Asian people, people with disabilities and people from the LGBTQ+ community who are all able to do their jobs. My rule has always been to get the best person for the job.
“It doesn’t matter what they look like or where they come from, just find the best person for the job. The Black to Front initiative opened everyone’s eyes to realize that they can change things drastically and it can still work. Stop being afraid.’
Coming soon: At the makeover, Judi Love will grill guests back in the On The Bed Interview
Exciting: Harriet Rose will be on the street playing Hot Sausage with members of the public and Big Breakfast newscaster Phil Gayle returns to deliver headlines
Meanwhile, host Mo said in an interview with The Guardian: ‘It reflects the changing face of our society.
“Of course there will be people who are still stuck in their ways – ‘Two black presenters? They’re taking over!” – but there are also people who genuinely want to see different faces and voices on TV.’
Co-host AJ added: ‘People need to be seen and represented, that’s very important to me. We have that diversity in the show now, we have a range of characters.”
At the revamp, Judi Love will be grilling guests back in the On The Bed Interview, Melvin and Harriet Rose will be playing Hot Sausage on the streets of the UK with members of the public, and Big Breakfast newscaster Phil Gayle will return to finish the mornings. to deliver. headlines.
In addition to features and games, Mo and AJ will be joined by Oscar and Bafta winning actor Daniel Kaluuya, singer Rita Ora, Big Breakfast legend Denise Van Outen, comedian Joel Dommett, rap sensation Aitch and chef Big Has with more guest names to be announced.
Prior to the Black To Front special The Big Breakfast was last broadcast in 2001 with Denise Van Outen, 47, and Johnny Vaughan, 55, as the hosts.
The Big Breakfast will air on Channel 4 and All 4 on Saturdays from August 13 at 10 a.m
Blast from the past: The morning show was last broadcast on January 12, 2001 with Denise Van Outen, 47, and Johnny Vaughan, 55, as presenters