ITV stars lift lid on their battle to beat bigotry in television

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Loose Women stars Charlene White and Katie Piper, Lorraine Kelly, plus GMB’s Ranvir Singh and Andi Peters will feature in Becoming The Person I Wanted To See this Friday.

One particular shocking claim by Ranvir, 45, is that in the beginning of her TV career, her workplace colleagues turned a blind eye to clear discrimination.

She says: “What was really upsetting…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.

“Everything I’ve done since then has been ‘You ignored me, I’ll make sure you can never ignore me [again]’. It makes me quite emotional.”

Andi, 52, says: “I get upset when people don’t believe in themselves. Don’t let the colour of your skin ever hold you back. You might have to battle, but…eventually somebody else will believe in you.”

Katie, 39, who was attacked with acid in 2008, says: “I thought I would never make it. TV was a place for beautiful people. Working on Loose Women is a place [where] I forget that I’m burnt. What needs to be done is that I’m not the only one. I don’t have any colleagues with a facial disfigurement.”

Her co-host Charlene, 42, says she feels responsible for the next generation of black female stars: “I’d love to see more action…and being more forward-thinking.

“I understand the impact of me rocking up on TV news. 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.”

While Lorraine, 63, says of her early days: “Nobody sounded like me at all on the telly. I remember vividly…being told I would never make it.”

Ofcom regulators said in 2019 ITV was behind the rest of the sector in promoting people from black and minority ethnic backgrounds, but the channel has improved massively.

Yiljan Nevzat, the film’s maker and Loose Women deputy editor, says she hopes the film will “invokes change” in diversity: “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.”

Becoming The Person I Wanted To See, ITV1 & ITVX, Friday 1:45pm.

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