Film maker Sir Steven Rodney McQueen, best known for directing the Academy Award winning best picture '12 Years a Slave,' has delivered yet again with his brand new five-part anthology series 'Small Axe.'
The five-part series features four true stories and one fictional of London's West Indian community, each set between the late 60's and the mid 80's. First announced six years ago, the project was set out to be a conventional TV series, however, it has since evolved into five different two hour film length episodes which each follow a different narrative. It's safe to say the series has been long awaited although it definitely hasn't disappointed, with it already achieving a multitude of five star reviews.
The first episode in the series, titled 'Mangrove' aired on BBC One last Sunday. The episode was set in Notting Hill and told the true story of Frank Crichlow, (played by Shaun Parkes) the owner of a Caribbean restaurant named 'Mangrove.' Crichlow's restaurant was a known hub and social hangout for Black locals and activists which made it a huge target for Police harassment. In response to the numerous raids and continuous harassment from the Police a group of individuals decided to partake in a local peaceful protest which was then hijacked by police and resulted in nine Black protesters, known as the Mangrove nine, being charged for both riot and affray. Their 55 day long trial at the Old Bailey became a landmark moment in history for recognising systemic racism amongst British institutions as the nine were eventually acquitted after turning the tables in the courtroom by making the case about Police racism.
The premier of the series did an exquisite job of telling a story that has been widely overlooked within British history and between the incredible attention to detail in regards to costume and set design and carefully selected cast it's no wonder the series is already a massive hit. The next episode to air this Sunday is entitled 'Lovers Rock' and will focus on Black youths in the 1980's finding romance and freedom at house parties in the capital.
The beauty of this five-part series is that you don't have to watch every episode if you don't want to in order to understand the plot since each instalment has a totally different storyline. Although, if the first episode is anything to go off you won't want to miss any of them anyway!
'Small Axe' will air every Sunday at 9pm on BBC One.
Missed the first episode? Simply click here to watch it back on BBC iPlayer.