Before Captain Kirk of the star ship Enterprise kissed his communications officer, Lieutenant Uhura, there was another interracial kiss shown on television. The first interracial kiss on TV was actually on the British medical soap opera–the first British medical soap opera–Emergency-Ward 10.
Emergency-Ward 10 was set in the fictitious Oxbridge General Hospital and the plots centered mainly on the happenings amongst the hospital staff. The show wasn’t full of blood and gore but it was cutting edge in other ways:
…although sedate by today’s standard the series did set a landmark in 1964 and courted a considerable amount of controversy with its portrayal of an interracial relationship between surgeon Louise Mahler (Joan Hooley) and Doctor Giles Farmer (John White) which included the first ever on-screen interracial kiss. Even so, this scene between the two was toned down before transmission because it was considered “a little too suggestive”.
The kiss between the to doctors was considered so controversial that surgeon Louise Mahler was written out of the script soon after. Hooley later said: “I suddenly found myself in the papers under the headline: ‘Black and White TV Kiss Banned’. It was very upsetting and it hit my self-esteem. My part suddenly evaporated and Dr Mahler was sent back to Africa on a holiday where she was bitten by a snake and died. What an exit!”
Things may not have turned out so great for Hooley’s onscreen romance in Emergency-Ward 10, but she still eventually found true love in her off-screen life when she married actor Geoff Harris. The twosome met in 1993 and remained a together until Harris’ death in 2004.
Jamila Akil is a Community Manager at Beyond Black and White. Follow her on Twitter @jamilaakil>