David Olusoga BBC documentary will celebrate immigrant workforce in the NHS

Our International NHS will celebrate "the immigrant workforce that has been the backbone of the NHS"

Historian David Olusoga is set to host a new documentary that will celebrate the immigrant workforce in the NHS.

Olusoga, who is known for documentaries such as Black and British: A Forgotten History, will front a new one-hour special called Our International NHS for BBC One and BBC iPlayer later this year.

The film will celebrate “the immigrant workforce that has been the backbone of the NHS, from its inception 70 years ago to the current pandemic”.


“Throughout its history, the NHS has drawn in doctors, nurses, specialists and support staff from overseas, and without them the NHS would simply have collapsed, unable to deliver on its foundational promise of a universal healthcare system available to all,” the synopsis adds.

David Olusoga
David Olusoga. CREDIT: Steven May/Alamy Stock Photo

“But though desperately needed these key workers have not always felt wanted,” it continues, with Olusoga set to look through documents, artefacts and archive.

Our International NHS will tell “the story of the NHS from the perspective of Irish and Caribbean nurses, Asian doctors and Eastern European ancillary workers, whose personal journeys expose revelatory truths about an institution that today more than ever has become ‘the closest thing we have to a national religion.'”

Olusgoa, who is Professor of Public History at the University of Manchester, has also presented The Unwanted: The Secret Windrush Files, Civilisations and Britain’s Forgotten Slave Owners. He also interviewed Barack Obama last year for BBC One as the former US president released his memoir A Promised Land.


The commission was announced alongside a series of other BBC documentaries, including Football’s Darkest Secret, Greta Thunberg: A Year to Change the World and Bad Influencer.

Last year, meanwhile, while giving the James MacTaggart Lecture at the Edinburgh TV Festival, Olusoga called for structural change in the UK TV industry to bring about more inclusivity.

“The industry also needs to listen to us, to value our perspectives and our stories, to understand that we come from a different place, consume different culture, read different books, and see the world from a different perspective,” he said. “And that that perspective is valuable.”

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