Compiled to reflect a true representation of today’s British society, the BBC launches the Mixed Race Season, which begins this week on BBC2.
Janice Hadlow, controller of BBC2, says “it is 10 years since the full ‘mixed race’ category was added to the 2001 census and a timely moment to explore this subject matter. But this is not just a season for mixed race people, or those in a mixed race relationship. It’s BBC Two’s role to reflect contemporary society and the story of mixed-race Britain is a valuable exploration into the way we live now. I hope our audience will find it fresh and inspiring.”
With Britain having the largest (proportionately) mixed race population in the Western world, the season of programmes to explore (even if only on the surface) some of the issues surrounding mixed race societies are relevant to today, and will be refreshing to see soully explored on TV via a series of dramas and documentaries.
The season aims to ‘explore the mixed race experience in Britain – and around the world – from the distant past to the present-day, using the testimonies of a range of people, both ordinary and extraordinary, to illuminate this seldom-told story’. It begins with Shirley, an intimate and revealing drama that looks at the life of Dame Shirley Bassey – one of Britain’s national treasures and one of the world’s most enduring and successful divas. Next will be a three part documentary, Mixed Britania, which examines how mixed race has become one of the country’s fastest growing ethnic groups, telling a tale of love, of couples coming together to fight prejudice and create a new society. Following will be Twincredibles, an interesting documentary on the genetic phenomenon of twins born of different skin colours, exploring the life experiences of five sets of black and white twins. There will also be a one-off documentary on the historical and contemporary social, sexual and political attitudes to race mixing, called How the World Got Mixed Up.
The exciting televised initiative to delve into such a vast area of modern, British society will be an intersting addition to television, but according to Chantal Badjie, editorial advisor for the BBC, ‘”the season does not claim to examine every single mixed race issue and we don’t pretend we’ve covered all the issues that affect mixed race people in the UK or that we have represented every combination of mixed race relationship. What we wanted to do on BBC Two, is provide a snapshot of Mixed Race Britain past and present, and to demonstrate that this story is a key part of Britain’s social and cultural landscape.”
Chantal continues, explaining, “we wanted especially to look at: the experience of someone who was born mixed race in the Thirties and who also happened to be a great British cultural icon (Shirley); the science of genetic inheritance and the nature versus nurture debate (Twincredibles); the imperial and global history of mixing (How The World Got Mixed Up) plus a sharp close up look at mixed race relationships and wider society in the 20th and early 21st centuries (Mixed Britannia).
Sounds FAB and I can’t wait to view the first in the series, Shirley on Thursday 29th September, 9.00-10.10pm on BBC TWO and BBC HD. Episode 1 of Mixed Britania will air on Thursday 6th October, 9.00-10.00pm on BBC TWO. Scheduling information for Twincredibles and How the World Got Mixed Up is yet to be released.