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You in Your Small Corner

"You in Your Small Corner" is a television play shown on the United Kingdom's Independent Television (ITV) on 5 June 1962[1] and was believed to include the first televised interracial kiss on British television[2][3] until the rediscovery of an earlier interracial kiss featuring the same male actor in an ITV broadcast of Hot Summer Night on 1 February 1959.[4][5][6][7]

"You in Your Small Corner"
ITV Play of the Week episode
Directed byClaude Whatham
Written byBarry Reckord
Original air date5 June 1962 (1962-06-05)
Running time90 minutes (including adverts)

The performance, broadcast live as part of the ITV Play of the Week series,[8] was commissioned and produced by Granada, one of several regional companies making up ITV. It was an adaptation of a stage play of the same name by Jamaican-born Barry Reckord and was directed by Claude Whatham.[9]

The plot involves Dave, a young, intellectual, middle class Jamaican man (played by Lloyd Reckord; the writer's brother), who becomes involved with Terry, a white, working class woman (Elizabeth MacLennan) while living with his aunt in the Brixton district of London, en route to studying at Cambridge University.[3][8][9]

A post-coital scene, showing the characters getting out of bed and getting dressed, was also included.[8]

Unseen for over 50 years, a recording of the broadcast was rediscovered in the British Film Institute's archive in 2015.[3]


Other kissesEdit

The screening predated a more famous interracial kiss on British television, on Emergency Ward 10 in 1964, and the first US interracial television kiss, on Star Trek in 1968,[3] each of which feature black women and white men.[8]

Stage versionEdit

"You in Your Small Corner" was Reckford's second play and had been performed at the Royal Court Theatre,[3] then transferred to the New Arts Theatre.[10] It was based in part on the author's own experiences as a Cambridge undergraduate in the 1950s.[9]

It was omitted from the 2010 book For the Reckord: A Collection of Three Plays by Barry Reckord,[11] as a copy of the script could not be found in time for its publication.[12]

The title of the play is the penultimate line of each verse of the 1868 children's hymn, Jesus Bids Us Shine by Susan Bogert Warner.

The play should not be confused with works of the same title, by Eileen Corderoy (1968)[13] or John Naismith (1987).[14]


  1. ^ "Television programmes". The Times. 5 June 1962. Retrieved 20 November 2015.
  2. ^ "BFI discovers world's first interracial TV kiss". Film News. Retrieved 20 November 2015.
  3. ^ a b c d e "First interracial kiss on British TV rediscovered". BBC Online. 20 November 2015. Retrieved 20 November 2015.
  4. ^ @DescantDeb. "An Interesting Take on Race and Romance at the 2015 BFI Love Season". The British Blacklist. TBB. Retrieved 11 February 2016.
  5. ^ "Hot Summer Night – First inter-racial kiss? (01/02/1959)" (video). YouTube. VintageBritishComedy. Retrieved 13 February 2016.
  6. ^ Stephen Bourne Black in The British Frame: The Black Experience in British Film and Television 2005 144116135X "Lloyd Reckord and Lionel Ngakane Actors with Movie Cameras performance on the London stage in Ted Willis's controversial play Hot Summer Night. It was produced at the New Theatre in Shaftesbury Avenue at the height of the so-called 'Angry Young Man' period. Willis later claimed in his autobiography that it was the first drama to confront racism in Britain: 'the play garnered rave notices.."
  7. ^ Stephen Bourne Black in the British Frame: The Black Experience in British Film and Television 144116135X - 2005 "It was during the scene when I kiss Andree Melly. A frail, rather timid and very gentle voice called out from the stalls — 'I don't like to see white girls kissing niggers'. There was dead silence in the theatre, and we went on with the play."
  8. ^ a b c d Brown, Mark (20 November 2015). "TV archive discovers couple who beat Kirk and Uhura to first interracial kiss". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 20 November 2015.
  9. ^ a b c Ahmed, Samira (20 November 2015). "The search for TV's first interracial kiss and why it matters". Retrieved 20 November 2015.
  10. ^ Busby, Margaret (16 January 2012). "Barry Reckord obituary". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 20 November 2015.
  11. ^ Reckord, Barry (2010). For the Reckord: A Collection of Three Plays by Barry Reckord. Oberon Books. ISBN 978-1849430531.
  12. ^ Athill, Diana (27 November 2010). "Barry Reckord; culture notes". The Times.
  13. ^ "Midweek Theatre". Radio Times (2326). BBC. 6 June 1968. p. 46.
  14. ^ "The Afternoon Play". Radio Times (3334). BBC. 15 October 1987. p. 73.

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