Rashid, from Make Bradford British
Channel 4 is making a follow-up to 2012’s award-winning documentary series Make Bradford British in Leicester, one of Britain’s most ethnically diverse cities and one of the first where white Britons are no longer in a majority.
Make Bradford British, which won a prestigious international Rose d’Or, explored what it means to be British through a unique social experiment that brought together some of the city’s residents - all of them British citizens, but from different races and backgrounds – to spend time with people they might not otherwise meet.
The new two-part series, Make Leicester British, focuses on a city whose ethnic makeup has undergone significant changes thanks to migration, including recently from central and eastern Europe
It’s now ten years since eight central and eastern European countries, including Poland, joined the European Union and the countries’ citizens were able to live and work in the UK. They have made up a significant proportion of the 3 million new UK residents in the last decade who were born outside the country.
Since Make Bradford British was broadcast in 2012, immigration has become an even bigger political issue. A recent YouGov poll found that immigration is now seen as the ‘most important issue facing the country’ (neck and neck with the economy) and Ukip stormed to victory in last month's European elections on an anti-EU, anti-immigration platform.
Leicester has a reputation as a harmonious city and a model of successful multiculturalism. The series aims to find out what the city can teach the rest of Britain, but it also looks at how integrated the new European migrants are and what has changed in the communities where they have settled. And it asks new migrants what living in Britain means to them.
The 2x60 series, made by Love Productions and commissioned by Channel 4 Head of Documentaries, Nick Mirsky, brings together eight Leicester residents, four of them British citizens from various backgrounds and ethnicities, plus four migrants from central and eastern Europe.
As with Make Bradford British, in the first programme everyone will live together in one house, eating together, managing a budget and going on trips together to explore their different senses of what it means to be British.
In the second programme they will be paired up and spend a number of days and nights together - living in one another’s homes and meeting friends and family – to gain a real insight into each others’ lives.
What will the eight learn about each other’s lives and will living together help them to find values they have in common to better share the same city? And what will the series reveal about 21st Century Britain and the country’s future?
Executive producer Richard McKerrow said: "It’s timely and fitting to be returning to this award-winning documentary format in the multicultural city of Leicester as immigration dominates the political agenda. How we live together in such an ethnically diverse country as the UK is one of the most important and relevant issues facing us today.“
Channel 4 Head of Documentaries Nick Mirsky said: "This is important thought-provoking television and more relevant than it has ever been. We are really pleased that such a strong team at Love Productions is returning to the format and confident that they will deliver intelligent and absorbing programmes.”