This film is part of Free

13 November 1967: Martin Luther King Interview

A rare interview with Dr Martin Luther King casts fresh light on black British broadcast history.

News 1967 2 mins

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This is a rare interview with a giant in the American civil rights movement: Dr Martin Luther King. Unseen for decades, Clyde Alleyne questions the dignified activist about British racism within months of his tragic assassination. King had just accepted an Honorary Doctorate at Newcastle University. Clyde Alleyne was Britain’s first black TV news reporter, a forgotten pioneer on Tyne Tees TV before breakthroughs for Barbara Blake Hannah and Trevor McDonald.

Whilst Martin Luther King needs no introduction, Clyde Alleyne’s small but significant step for black British culture, and towards racial equality in British news broadcasting, is not remembered. Like Trevor McDonald, news anchor on ITV, he got his start on Trinidad and Tobago Television, launched in 1962, where he interviewed leading political personalities, and top entertainers such as Louis Armstrong and The Beatles. Only 27 years old, Alleyne joined Tyne Tees Television in May 1967 working on both the Six Five and Late Look news programmes. Less than a year later, right-wing Conservative Enoch Powell made black immigration a major issue with his incendiary ‘rivers of blood’ speech.