Series 3 Episode 3
First Broadcast: 12AM Wed 25 November 2009

Filmed in 1999 Darcus Howe takes a personal journey to discover what it is to be English.

When Darcus Howe came to England from Trinidad 40 years ago, he found a people who were certain of themselves and who knew what it was to be English. Now, as we enter a new millennium, as Scotland and Wales seek a semi-detached relationship to England, and with Europe looming ever nearer, Darcus discovers a people in the throes of an identity crisis. "The old England of self-confidence, of people knowing who they are, knowing where they have come from, that's dead¿the whole of England is in a flux." They are lost, confused and even ashamed to admit they are English, argues Darcus who, in this new, three-part series, travels the length and breadth of the country to discover why the English don't seem to want to be English anymore.

On the first leg of his journey, Darcus meets Simon, a young white man who lives in Southall, a part of London where white people are outnumbered by Asians three to one. He agrees with Darcus that "it's difficult to say that there is a white culture... It makes me very ashamed that all these people that come to our country can bring a religion and celebrate it", he says referring to the Sikh festival that is taking place around his neighbourhood at this time. "Yet people that've been in this country since time began don't have the same amount of pride in their religion any more. On our national day, St. George's Day, there was no event or anything, it kind of just came, and then it's gone."

Moving further North, out of the security of London, Darcus travels to Newcastle, "one of the whitest of cities" where he is in for a culture shock. "I'd come here to discover the English, but they were not English at all, they were Geordies. Their loyalty was to their team and to their city. England for them was another country." Even in Stow-on-the Wold, a traditional English village, the heart of middle England and, says Darcus, "the England I dreamt about in Trinidad", he is shocked at the lack of Englishness on show. "The first pub I saw was called a Brasserie and you couldn't get a ploughman's lunch!" The culture of the day was French, not English. "We are losing our identity", admits one such Francophile, "it's becoming a nebulous, jelly-like thing: what is Englishness? I don't know any more."

In Birmingham, Darcus continues to observe Englishness in decline. "We walked into a typical English suburb, and there it was, decorated with the Confederate Flag." Darcus had wandered into Yankophile territory, where line-dancing had clearly put an end to Morris dancing and shopping down the High Street had been replaced by the rise of the mall. He leaves the city feeling disorientated. "I didn't know what to expect next. Was I really still in England?"

Darcus finds an ally in Lord Tebbitt, when they meet at the Skegness Conservative Party annual dinner. "I think there is a bit of identity crisis," admits Tebbit, "...in war it rapidly comes back: we are the English against 'the others', but we have had 50 years of peace and that makes it more difficult to define what is the English consciousness. We are quite late on in the battle to save our country. The danger is upon us, and it is almost too late. Our duty is now to awaken this nation in time..."

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Darcus Howe travels the length and breadth of the country to discover why the English don't seem to want to be English anymore