A DOCUMENTARY revealing the impact of black cricketers on race relations in East Lancashire will air next week.

BBC Four's Race and Pace: The West Indians in East Lancashire, features how Lancashire League professionals over the last 90 years have challenged attitudes towards race.

The story begins in 1929, when Learie Nicholas Constantine signed for Nelson on an initial three-year deal.

Although he was initially shunned and avoided, he later became a hero to the people of the area and later Baron Constantine, commonly known Lord Constantine of Nelson, for his pioneering work in race relations.

Now in 2017, Nelson remains the only town in England with a BNP Councillor.

In nine years at the club, Constantine scored 6,363 runs at an average of 37.65 and took 776 wickets at 9.50. His highest score was 192, and his best bowling figures were 10 wickets for 10 runs.

In Constantine's nine seasons at the club, Nelson never finished lower than second, won the league competition seven times and the knockout cup twice and often playing to crowds around 7,000.

And during that time, his earnings rose as high as £750 for a season, almost twice as much as the professional footballers of the era.

The documentary also features the story of Sir Wes Hall who played at Accrington, Charlie Griffith at Burnley and Sir Viv Richards, who followed in Michael Holding's footsteps to play for Rishton - arriving in a blaze of glory at Blackburn Road as he landed on the square in a helicopter.

Former Accrington, Lancashire and England star David Lloyd is also interviewed in the documentary about how Hall inspired him to take cricket seriously.

The documentary finishes with the current situation in the league – this year is its 125th anniversary - the make-up of teams and what that says about the area today.

Stuart Pollitt, programme producer and BBC North West Tonight reporter, said: “I wanted to bring to life the stories so many people across East Lancashire tell us about the great days of pros in the league.

"Almost everyone in the area has a tale to tell about their meeting with a Learie Constantine, a Wes Hall or a Viv Richards.

“In making the programme, I discovered how much of an impact the players had, particularly Constantine, who managed to change attitudes in Nelson and beyond.

"But I also uncovered the depth of the relationship between East Lancashire and the islands of the West Indies. These players helped make East Lancashire world famous through their exploits.

“I also wanted to look at the wider impact of cricket in helping different generations of immigrants adapt to life in East Lancashire. We speak to Caribbean immigrants who arrived in Preston in the 1960s and one of the first Asian amateurs to play in the Lancashire League.

“I guess the programme is about the power that cricket has to help unite different people through one sport.”

Race and Pace: The West Indians in East Lancashire airs on Monday, October 2 at 7.30pm on BBC Four.