Steph McGovern and Chris Kamara break down in tears live on Channel 4 show Steph’s Packed Lunch as former footballer talks movingly about growing up with racism
Steph McGovern and Chris Kamara broke down in tears during a discussion about Black History Month live on Steph’s Packed Lunch on Thursday.
The presenter was in a discussion with the former footballer on the live Channel 4 show about his experiences of racism.
After Chris, 62, had spoken movingly about growing up in the pair’s shared home town of Middlesborough and racism, Steph was in tears, forcing the show to cut to an advert break.
Emotional: Steph McGovern and Chris Kamara broke down in tears during a discussion about Black History Month live on Steph’s Packed Lunch on Thursday
Steph began the discussion by telling Chris: ‘I read that book recently, Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race and I was staggered at my own ignorance and the things I didn’t know about black history,’ before asking her friend: ‘Kammy, did you get taught about black history at school?’
‘I only knew five black people growing up – Usain Pele, Louis Armstrong, Mohammed Ali and Al Jonson – and Al Jonson was white, but you know my mum and dad loved to listen to his music,’ he said.
‘Growing up in Middlesborough was very difficult for me and my family. It was so hard. In these days, they don’t realise when you’re the only black people on your estate.’
Tough: The presenter was in a discussion with the former footballer on the live Channel 4 show about his experiences of racism
‘The only black people in your town, how devastating effect that had on my dad. And sort of did my future as well. He was trying to protect us as much as possible but it was really difficult for him and people of his ilk.’
Chris continued: ‘I remember going to the shop for my mum and before the man could serve me some woman burst into the shop and demanded a a loaf of bread and he said ‘I’m just serving this little fella’ and she said ‘Well him and his lot should go back to where they come from’. Well we only lived five doors away from her!’
‘That’s when you first realise that you’re different. And then when I go to school, I’m the only black person in my school, and my brother before me. And then you’ve got senior school and I’m the only black person.’
Childhood: The former footballer and pundit told Steph: ‘Growing up in Middlesborough was very difficult for me and my family. It was so hard’
‘And then it became a decision for me to get your head down, work as hard you can because outside people will try and stop your progress.’
‘And you really think people would stop your progress because of your race?’ Steph asked.
‘You grow up with it, it became the norm,’ insisted Chris. ‘When I first started playing football Love Thy Neighbour and Alf Garnett were the programmes on the telly, and I like a laugh but when you went in the changing rooms they’d stop talking the players and they’d say ‘oh you’re alright Kammy, you don’t mind’ and I couldn’t mind because I was the minority… really and truly it hurts.’
Chris went on to say that ‘Black History Month is a start like BLM movement, taking the knee, it’s a start… People are learning we’re all people, we’re all one colour.’
Steph was visibly choked up as she told the studio: ‘If anything needs a round of applause it’s that statement.’
The presenter then started crying as she told her guest: ‘I get a bit emotional listening to you because you’re from my hometown and …’ leading to Chris to cry too.
Praise: Viewers of the Channel 4 lunchtime show praised Steph and Chris for their ‘heartfelt’ discussion and emotional responses
Steph was then forced to hand over to her co-presenter, comedian Russell Kane who told the audience: ‘You know what let’s have a break, I think that’s a good idea.’
After the show returned from the ad break, Steph apologised, explaining: ‘I had a bit of a moment earlier. It’s because I’m from Middlesborough, that’s where Kammy’s from.’
‘I grew up, he was a massive role model to me. And just to hear about things he’s experienced… I got a bit overwhelmed. And having had a baby not recently as well, it’s hormones!’
‘Anyway, welcome back everyone. Sorry about that! Loads more on the show, I promise I won’t be doing the big emotional thing anymore!’
‘Heartfelt’: One viewer praised Steph and Chris for their ‘natural response to such an imprtant subject’
Viewers of the Channel 4 lunchtime show praised Steph and Chris for their ‘heartfelt’ discussion and emotional responses, with one tweeting:
‘Genuine and heartfelt segment on race, excellently put and discussed,’ while another wrote: ‘What a great, natural response to such an important subject. hearing people’s real life experiences of racism is just what we need to see, particularly during black history month.’