The BBC has ordered two new documentaries exec produced by director Steve McQueen.

Black Power (1×90), for BBC Two, is about the Black Power movement of the 60s and 70s and Subnormal (1×60), for BBC One, examines how black children in the 1960s and 1970s were disproportionately sent to schools for the so-called ‘educationally subnormal’.

Both documentaries, produced by Lammas Park, Rogan Productions  and  Turbine Studios, feature first hand interviews with key participants in the events, many of whom are telling their stories for the first time.

Black Power is directed by BAFTA-nominated George Amponsah (Hard Stop) and Subnormal by new talent Lyttanya Shannon. 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.

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.

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.

Steve McQueen, Executive Producer, says: “Looking at the past is an indication of what we have achieved today. These two documentaries show us of 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.”

Black Power (working title), a 1×90’ for BBC Two and BBC iPlayer, was commissioned by Charlotte Moore, BBC Chief Content Officer, and Clare Sillery, Head of Commissioning, Documentaries, History and Religion. The Commissioning Editor is Emma Loach. It is produced by Lammas Park, Rogan Productions  and  Turbine Studios. The Executive Producers are Steve McQueen, James Rogan, Tracey Scoffield and Soleta Rogan; the Senior Producer is Helen Bart; and the Director is George Amponsah.

Subnormal, a 1×60’ for BBC One and BBC iPlayer, was commissioned by Charlotte Moore, BBC Chief Content Officer, and Clare Sillery, Head of Commissioning, Documentaries, History and Religion. The Commissioning Editor is Emma Loach. It is produced by Lammas Park, Rogan Productions  and Turbine Studios. The Executive Producers are Steve McQueen, James Rogan, Tracey Scoffield and Soleta Rogan; the Senior Producer is Helen Bart; and the Director is Lyttanya Shannon.

BBC Studios will distribute the documentaries internationally.

Jon Creamer