BBC One has announced a new Steve McQueen three-parter, Uprising.

The new series examines three events from 1981 – in January, the New Cross Fire which killed 13 black teenagers; in March, Black People’s Day of Action, which saw more than 20,000 people join the first organised mass protest by black British people; and the Brixton riots in April.

Directed by Steve McQueen and James Rogan, the series will reveal how these three events intertwined in 1981 and how, in the process, race relations were defined for a generation.

Steve McQueen, Director and Executive Producer, said: “It is an honour to make these films with testimonials from the survivors, investigators, activists and representatives of the machinery of state. We can only learn if we look at things through the eyes of everyone concerned; the New Cross Fire passed into history as a tragic footnote, but that event and its aftermath can now be seen as momentous events in our nation’s history.”

Charlotte Moore, BBC Chief Content Officer, said: “It has been an honour to work with Steve McQueen to bring these powerful stories to BBC One. With his visionary genius as a filmmaker he has created an incredibly important and evocative series that charts events that have defined race relations in Britain today, giving a voice to the people at the heart of these stories.”

James Rogan, Director and Executive Producer, said: “The New Cross Fire that claimed the lives of so many young people and affected many more remains one of the biggest losses of life in a house fire in modern British history. What happened and how Britain responded to it is a story that has been waiting to be told in depth for 40 years. In the series, survivors and the key participants will give their account of the fire, the aftermath, the impact it had on the historic events of 1981 ​​and the profound legacy it has left behind.”

Uprising, a 3×60’ series for BBC One, was commissioned by Charlotte Moore, Chief Content Officer, and Clare Sillery, Head of Commissioning, Documentaries, History and Religion. It is produced by Rogan Productions, Lammas Park and Turbine Studios. The Executive Producers are Steve McQueen, Nancy Bornat, James Rogan, Soleta Rogan, Tracey Scoffield, Anna Smith Tenser and David Tanner. The Series Producer is Helen Bart; and the Directors are Steve McQueen and James Rogan.  The Commissioning Editors are Clare Sillery and Carl Callam.

Jon Creamer

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