By Sheena McKenzie for CNN
Six years before Capt. Kirk and Lt. Uhura locked lips on “Star Trek” in what is often credited as TV’s first interracial kiss, another couple were pushing boundaries
Newly uncovered footage from the British Film Institute (BFI) shows a black man and a white woman kissing in a televised play of “You in Your Small Corner,” in 1962.
In 1960s Britain such displays of affection were unheard of on the small screen, and the institute believes this is not just the earliest interracial kiss on British TV — but possibly the world.
The play aired years before the famous 1968 “Star Trek” scene starring William Shatner and Nichelle Nichols — believed to be the first interracial kiss on U.S. TV.
The footage was found in the BFI’s National Archive during research for an upcoming event on race and romance in television.
It also came two years before actors John White and Joan Hooley embraced on “Emergency Ward 10” in what was previously thought to be the UK’s first interracial kiss, in 1964.
“This ground-breaking TV play is such an important re-discovery. A document of British social history, it demonstrates the role of progressive television drama as a reflection of our society,” said BFI Creative Director, Heather Stewart.
“Fifty years on, diverse on-screen representation is still an urgent issue and we must continue as an industry to effect much-needed change.”
Written by Jamaican-born playwright Barry Reckord, “You in Your Small Corner” was originally staged at the Royal Court and was televised live on ITV, airing just the once.
It features the playwright’s brother Lloyd Reckord as an immigrant arriving from Jamaica to Brixton in south London, where he stays with his mother before going to study at Cambridge University.
During that time, he strikes up an intimate relationship with a young white woman, played by Elizabeth MacLennan.