BFI Discovers World’s First Interracial TV Kiss

Do you remember You in Your Small Corner? First broadcast on ITV in June 1962? No, me neither. But apparently this is believed to be the world’s earliest known, surviving inter-racial kiss on TV. The episode hasn’t been seen on TV since the first broadcast.

Lloyd Reckord and Elizabeth MacLennan in You in Your Small Corner (tx.5/6/1962) BFI/Granada/ITV Studios

Lloyd Reckord and Elizabeth MacLennan in You in Your Small Corner (tx.5/6/1962) BFI/Granada/ITV Studios

The BFI discovered the show at their National Archive whilst researching a panel discussion at the BFI Southbank (Tuesday 24th Novermber) on Race and Romance on television as part of the BFI’s LOVE season. Audiences on the 24th will see the kiss.

You in Your Small Corner was a Granada TV play of the week and an adaptation of a play by Jamaican-born Barry Reckord and was originally staged at the Royal Court. Brother of the playright, Lloyd Reckord, kisses actress Elizabeth MacLennan during the show which is thought to predate all other known examples and is one of several intimate exchanges between the two leading players.

“This ground-breaking TV play is such an important re-discovery” said Heather Stewart, Creative Director, BFI. “A document of British social history, it demonstrates the role of progressive television drama as a reflection of our society and underlines the vital work of the BFI National Archive as the guardian of our national memory. 50 years on, diverse on-screen representation is still an urgent issue and we must continue as an industry to effect much-needed change.”

The famous kiss between Lieutenant Uhura and Captain James T. Kirk in an episode of Star Trek from 1968 is hailed as the first inter-racial kisses on US TV, whilst the kiss between Joan Hooley and John White from an episode of Emergency Ward 10 in 1964 is generally acknowledged as the first inter-racial kiss in an ongoing series.

This is the second large discovery from the BFI National Archive after the discovery of an 87 year-old lost Disney film.

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