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A Pas­sage To Bri­tain 9pm, BBC Two

PART of the BBC’s Big British Asian Sum­mer sea­son, this three-part se­ries is an ex­cel­lent piece of so­cial his­tory by Ox­ford pro­fes­sor Dr Yas­min Khan, who pieces to­gether the lives of the some of the new ar­rivals who came to Bri­tain from the In­dian sub­con­ti­nent be­tween the 1930s and 1960. In each episode, she takes as start­ing point a ship’s pas­sen­ger list, be­gin­ning with P&O liner The Viceroy Of In­dia, and a jour­ney that set sail from Bom­bay in 1933. Among those on board were au­thor Mulk Raj Anand and Sir Lancelot Gra­ham, one of the In­dian Em­pire’s last colo­nial gov­er­nors. Else­where were two young stu­dents who would go on to start fam­i­lies in the UK. Their sto­ries, along with the mem­o­ries of Raja Stokes – an 86-year-old sur­viv­ing pas­sen­ger from the Viceroy – il­lus­trate the tense re­la­tion­ship be­tween Bri­tain and In­dia at the time, and il­lu­mi­nate the ex­pe­ri­ence of strangers build­ing new lives in a strange land, while help­ing their adopted coun­try to evolve.

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