Presented by Ian Wright MBE, this ground-breaking 2-part series for ITV, Out of Their Skin, charts the rise of black footballers in Britain over the last 40 years. Through a breath-taking compilation of individual stories past and present and combining captivating unseen archive footage with original interviews and contemporary documentary filming, Out of Their Skin offers a unique insight into English sporting heritage and social culture.
Episode one takes us on a sometimes-uncomfortable journey from the late 1970’s to the end of the 1980’s. Watch a football match on TV or read about one in the newspaper and the same sweeping generalisations were made about black players. Many black fans considered football stadia no go zones due to far right organisations recruiting at football matches, so for the few black players on the pitch, it was a hostile place to be. However, in talking brilliantly with their feet on the pitch, the likes of John Barnes, Cyrille Regis and others began to win people over off it. By standing strong against the abuse they had suffered, change was coming. But there was still much to do.
Episode two focusses on that change. Ian Wright travels to see his friend and former team mate Paul Ince, who talks about what it felt like to become England’s first black captain. Ashley Cole, the first black player to reach 100 caps for England, is a key contributor in this episode too, discussing the tabloid treatment he faced whilst playing in England and gives his take on the stories surrounding Raheem Sterling’s personal life. Finally, England manager Gareth Southgate and Liverpool starlet Rhian Brewster, who has suffered abuse even recently, look to the future.