Saturday, 5 March 2011

Chris Port Blog #112. 'Shoot The Messenger'.

Shoot The Messenger. Does anyone recall watching this BBC TV play (first broadcast in 2006)? It was very controversial - so controversial that, over 4 years later, I still can’t find a single clip on the internet.

As a white liberal teacher, I remember squirming uncomfortably at the start. My initial impression was “this is some middle-class ‘black-on-black’ backlash against ‘losers’ playing the race card”. Then I realized it was challenging a completely different set of prejudices. I was totally gripped and defamiliarised (in the Brechtian sense) - free to throw away easy clich├ęs and face difficult questions head on. Brilliant, thought-provoking drama about race, culture and identity in 21st century Britain. But… that’s me speaking as a not yet dead white male author. I would welcome different points of view. If anyone knows where I can get hold of a DVD copy - or find clips on the internet - I would be very grateful.

Some reference material below:

BBC Website: ‘Shoot The Messenger’

Wikipedia: ‘Shoot The Messenger’

IMDb, ‘Shoot The Messenger’:

The Guardian, 3 July 2006: ‘Dont shoot this messenger’

Ligali Media Forum, 5 July 2006: ‘BBC previews its most sophisticated racist film ever’

The Daily Mail, 20 August 2006: ‘BBC accused of making perfect ‘BNP propaganda’ drama’

Click, 10 April 2006: ‘Shoot The Messenger’

Scope On-Line Journal of Film & TV Studies: ‘Shoot The Messenger’:

Voxafrica: ‘Shoot The Messenger’

Citizens Against Racism and Discrimination, 24 August 2006: ‘The most racist film in the BBC’s history?’

Bike Chat Forums, ‘Shoot the Messenger (BBC - Banned racism drama)’: Letters Page, ‘Shoot The Messenger’:, ‘BBC drama draws racism fire’:

London Evening Standard, 31 August 2006, ‘Boycott BBC over ‘racist’ drama says black campaigner’:

The Navig8or, 1 October 2006, Biography of Marcus Mosiah Garvey and review of ‘Shoot The Messenger’ by Abdullah Uhuru:

BFI Sight and Sound, June 2010, ‘That was then, this is now’:

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