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This month’s round-up of TV and radio
Lenny Henry: The Commonwealth Kid April
BBC ONE Sir Lenny Henry is the son of Jamaican parents who came to the UK as part of the postWindrush generation in 1957. It’s a heritage that has long fascinated him, both on a personal level and in terms of the UK’s relationship with other countries in the Commonwealth.
The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting takes place in London in April, the first time that it’s come to the capital in over 30 years. So it’s a timely moment for the actor and comedian to examine the relationship between the Crown, the Commonwealth and its people, who number 2.3 billion.
It’s an exploration that takes Henry on a tour of the Caribbean, visiting the Bahamas and Jamaica where he meets a crosssection of island society, from street vendors to teachers, government officials to students. By looking so closely at the bond between Caribbean countries and the UK, the aim is to offer a microcosm of the wider relationship between Commonwealth peoples.
The show will inevitably touch on the more difficult elements of the British Empire’s history, and explore the changing role of the Commonwealth in the 21st century.
Who Do You Think You Are? USA Tuesday 10 April, 9pm W
Continuing through April and May, the ninth series of the Stateside version of WDYTYA? features some names that will certainly be familiar to UK viewers. They include Noah Wyle, star of ER and Falling
Skies, who investigates his maternal line and meets an ancestor who was pitched into one of the USA’s biggest wars
and whose life ultimately spiralled out of control. In addition actor Jessica Biel (The A-Team, Total
Recall) makes shocking discoveries as she hunts for information about the death of a forebear, while Motown legend Smokey Robinson connects with a struggle against oppression. The series also features the actors John Stamos and Liv Tyler.
The Turban Bus Dispute Monday 16 April
RADIO 4 In 1967 Sikh bus driver Tarsem Singh Sandhu was sent home from work because he was sporting a beard and wearing a turban. It was an event that marked the beginning of an industrial dispute that lasted for two years.
In addition, as journalist and novelist Sathnam Sanghera relates, the incident formed part of the backdrop to Enoch Powell’s ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech of 20 April 1968, in which the Conservative politician criticised mass immigration. The dispute took place in Powell’s Midlands constituency, and he referred to it directly when he criticised “the Sikh communities’ campaign to maintain customs inappropriate in Britain”.