The creation of Steve McQueen’s anthology Small Axe

Small Axe: Lovers Rock (Credit: BBC)

The benefits of assembling genuinely diverse production teams are often talked about but seldom fully realised. A notable recent exception was Steve McQueen’s ground breaking Small Axe, the anthology of five feature films first shown on BBC One late last year, and the recent winner of five Bafta craft awards. 

Four of the five films depicted the troubling experiences of first-generation West Indians living in west London during the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, while the fifth, Lovers Rock, was a celebration of a night out at a house party in Ladbroke Grove in 1980. 

BBC One releases Small Axe trailer marking 50 years since Mangrove Protest

Letitia Wright in Mangrove (credit: BBC)

From the Oscar-winning director Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave), Mangrove follows the events which led to the arrest of nine innocent Black women and men for protesting against police brutality in Notting Hill in 1970, and the highly publicised trial which followed.

The group, who later became known as the Mangrove 9, were arrested and charged with incitement to riot: Frank Crichlow, Darcus Howe, Altheia Jones-leCointe, Barbara Beese, Rupert Boyce, Rhodan Gordon, Anthony Innis, Rothewell Kentish and Godfrey Millet.