Steve McQueen to Co-Direct BBC Race Relations’ ‘Uprising’ – Deadline

Steve McQueen would further strengthen his creative partnership with the BBC by co-directing a documentary series on three dramatic events in the UK in 1981 that defined race relations for a generation.

Titled Uprising, the three-part series will examine the interwoven events of the New Cross Fire that killed 13 black teenagers at a house party in January 1981; the mass Black Day of Action protest in March that year; and finally, the Brixton riots in April.

McQueen will lead Uprising alongside James Rogan (Stephen: the murder that changed a nation), the latter’s Rogan Productions hosting the series. This is the second project McQueen and Rogan are collaborating on after teaming up for BBC films. Black power and Subnormal, which were conceived during the production of an anthology drama Small ax.

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McQueen said: “It is an honor to make these films with the testimonies of survivors, investigators, activists and representatives of the state apparatus. We can only learn if we look at things through the eyes of everyone involved; The New Cross Fire went down in history as a tragic footnote, but this event and its aftermath can now be considered momentous events in our country’s history.

Rogan added: “The New Cross Fire which claimed the lives of so many young people and affected many more remains one of the greatest loss of life in a house fire in modern British history. What happened and how Britain responded to it is a story that has been waiting to be told in depth for 40 years. In the series, survivors and main participants will report on the fire, its aftermath, the impact it had on the historic events of 1981, and the deep legacy it left behind.

BBC Content Director Charlotte Moore said McQueen “has created an incredibly important and evocative series that traces the events that have defined race relations in Britain today, giving a voice to those at the heart of these stories.

Moore commissioned the series alongside Clare Sillery, responsible for commissioning, documentaries, history and religion. Executive producers are McQueen, Nancy Bornat, Rogan, Soleta Rogan, Tracey Scoffield, Anna Smith Tenser and David Tanner. Uprising is a series produced by Helen Bart.

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