The white working class in Britain is put under the spotlight this winter on BBC Two, in a season of unflinching programmes examining why some sections of this community feel increasingly marginalised today.
As political parties debate the way forward for immigration, debate rages in the media and the popularity of the far-right continues to rise in some sections of society, White explores the complex mix of feelings that lead some white working class people to feel under siege and as if their very sense of self is being brought into question.
Says Roly Keating, Controller, BBC Two: “It’s BBC Two’s role to reflect contemporary society and this is a timely moment for us to examine the roots of this debate.
“The White season is a complex look at how life has changed for the white working class in Britain.
“It will enable the audience to consider the views and circumstances of people who have a strong point of view and join in the debate, both online with the BBC and in their own homes and communities.”
The season consists of a range of documentaries and a compelling drama, White Girl, written by Abi Morgan (BBC Two’s Tsunami: The Aftermath, Sex Traffic) and starring Anna Maxwell Martin (Bleak House).
White Girl focuses on an inspirational 11-year-old girl, Leah, her family’s relocation to an entirely Muslim community in Bradford and her feeling of isolation, which is heightened at school when she discovers that she and her siblings are the only white children.
But Leah views the Muslim culture and faith with innocent fascination, finding a refuge of calm and safety which is in sharp contrast to the pain and sadness at home.
A provocative and emotional drama, it explores the hope as well as the tension that can arise when two very different cultures collide. Documentaries in the season include Last Orders, which tells the story of the embattled Wibsey Working Men’s Club in the city of Bradford.
The white working class was once regarded as the “backbone of the nation”, but they now feel that their community is under threat and largely forgotten by the Government. All White In Barking observes relationships and questions prejudices in a multi-cultural East London community.
The Poles Are Coming sees Tim Samuels (the man behind The Zimmers) taking a subversive look at the reality of immigration in Middle England. As Gdansk’s leaders travel to Peterborough to plead with their countrymen to come back to a Poland where there is a shortage of workers, the programme asks what would happen to our economy if they did leave and whether any will be tempted away.