Review: BBC's Windrush drama Sitting in Limbo was a film to shame a 'hostile' Government

Imagine, if you will, a situation where your friends – the group of people with whom you have grown up, live, feel at home with – suddenly turn around the tell you that you’re not welcome, they never liked you and they wish you should go away.

By Phil Cunnington
Saturday, 13th June 2020, 3:45 pm

Well, you don’t have to imagine it, because that’s what this country did to thousands of people who thought this was their home, who had come here at the Government’s request to help the country get back on its feet after the Second World War –the Windrush Generation.

Watching Sitting in Limbo (BBC1, Monday, 8.30pm) should have left you with your jaw on the floor and a raging fury at the weird thought processes that led to the decision to revoke the British status of Anthony Bryan and thousands like him.

The film followed the story of Anthony and his family through the ‘hostile environment’ of immigration queues, detention centres and courtrooms after the Government decided he was an illegal alien.

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Anthony Bryan (Patrick Robinson) hears a knock at the door in the BBC's Windrush drama Sitting in Limbo

This despite him coming to Britain with his mum aged eight in 1965, his mum working in the NHS for 30 years, Anthony working, starting a family, contributing to his community.

It was a compelling story, simply told, at times almost too simply, exposition-heavy. However, that is where its power lay – the bald stating of the facts revealing the shocking abuse of power by an unthinking Government.

It’s telling that a repeated phrase is “I’m not at liberty to say,” mocking Anthony as he, in turn, loses his freedom.

Thirteen people died after being deported ‘back home’ to places they barely remembered and didn’t recognise. This film should serve as an epitaph to them and a statement that this must never happen again.

I May Destroy You (BBC1, Mon/Tue, 10.45pm) laid bare the millennial world to an old fogey like me, but was a brilliant, exposing drama by writer and star Michaela Coel, a detective story of consent.

If you have tweens in the house, try Alex Rider (Amazon Prime, streaming now), an adaptation of the schoolboy spy stories. It has some (mild) swearing, but it will keep 11-13-year-olds hooked.