Steve McQueen to direct 1981 Brixton riots series ‘Uprising’ for BBC

“It is an honour to make these films with testimonials from the survivors, investigators, activists and representatives of the machinery of state"

Steve McQueen is set to direct Uprising, a three-part BBC series about the New Cross Fire, Black People’s Day of Action, and the Brixton riots in 1981.

The Small Axe filmmaker will be director and executive producer of the series alongside James Rogan, looking at “how these three events intertwined in 1981 and how, in the process, race relations were defined for a generation”, according to a press release.

“It is an honour to make these films with testimonials from the survivors, investigators, activists and representatives of the machinery of state,” McQueen said in a statement.

Advertisement

“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.”

Rogan added: “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.”

McQueen last directed Small Axe, an anthology collection of five films released on the BBC and on Amazon about London’s West Indian community. The films starred John Boyega and Letitia Wright, and were recently nominated for 15 BAFTA Television Awards.

Uprising will consist of three one-hour episodes and will be released later this year. There is no word yet on casting announcements.

Advertisement
Advertisement