Make Leicester British

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Channel 4 launches new documentary that observes ethnic diversity in Leicester



Known for being a melting pot of different cultures, the city will see four British born citizens and four immigrants come together and explore issues of immigration, integration and identity.


The show is a sequel to previous documentary ‘Make Bradford British’ which aired in 2012. This year will see participants share a house for several days before experiencing living in each other’s homes.


The show’s conception is a response to the rise of the UK Independence Party (UKIP) which won its first Parliamentary seat in the Clacton by-election last month, and fallout from the Scottish Independence referendum.


Participants on the show include John, 72, a Morris dancing fan; Jen, 29, a landlady; Sukiy, 63, a cafe owner and Kit, 52, a former social worker who moved to the city from Kenya in the 1960s.


They are joined by professional musician Ola, 32, who moved to Leicester from Poland 12 years ago, and Eduardas, 36, who has built his own business empire despite arriving from Lithuania with nothing but the clothes on his back.


Also taking part in the show is Sagal, a 36-year-old single mum who works part time and moved to Leicester after leaving Somalia in 2004. Finally there is Kamil, 31, a Polish ex-soldier who works as a security guard.


The citizens shared their take on the show, John stated, “We are a tolerant race and accept things other wouldn’t. And we laugh at ourselves.”


Ola said, “Leicester does not have racism – what’s British is how polite British people are, that’s the way you’ve been brought up.”


Sagal said, “It means a lot to be in Britain. English people are quite private and keep themselves to themselves. You have to phone to tell people you are visiting them.”


However some believe they take some of their British identity back home, Eduardas revealed, “It’s my home, but I don’t feel British in my heart. But when I go back to Lithuania, I feel British because it’s totally different.


“Lithuania has changed because people are living in Britain and then taking it back home.”


Although ‘Make Bradford British’ earned a 2013 Rose d’Or international television award for reality and factual entertainment, it was criticised by Bradford City Council for depicting the city as being deeply segregated.


Executive producer Richard McKerrow said, “It’s timely and fitting to be returning to this award-winning documentary format in the multicultural city of Leicester, as immigration dominates the political agenda.


“How we live together in such an ethnically diverse country as the UK is one of the most important and relevant issues facing us today.”


Nick Mirsky, head of Channel 4 documentaries added, “This is thought-provoking television and more relevant than it has ever been.”


The show airs tonight at 9pm in Channel 4.

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