A belter of a TV programme on the family history of Noel Clarke

Embed from Getty Images

Back in August, I waxed lyrically about the history which is reflected regularly in the BBC programme “Who do you think you are?”. I feel compelled to return to the subject, given the sheer awesomeness of the last episode in the current run of this BBC series.

Available on BBC iPlayer for the next 27 days, actor and director Noel Clarke traces his family history. Noel’s mother, Gemma, came to this country from Trinidad as an NHS nurse in the 1960s/70s. She brought up Noel on her own, and there are no siblings. Noel Clarke had absolutely no idea of his family background.

The programme takes Noel back to Trinidad. He discovers that his paternal grandmother, Menelvia, was a key campaigner for Trinidad’s independence in the 1950s and 60s. It is quite an emotional moment when a senior local politician tells Noel how respected and admired his grandmother was.

But it is Noel Clarke’s final trip which proves to be a belter – gripping and harrowing by equal degrees. He goes to Carriacou, a small island under the wing of Grenada (pictured above). There, his ancestors worked as slaves. Noel learns of the horrific treatment of the slaves at the hands of a ruthless estate manager while the estate owners lived on the proceeds back in London. But he discovers that his great-great-great-great grandfather, Glasgow Bedeau, was born in slavery but not only emancipated but did very well for himself. He bought a big plot of land on the island, where Noel Clarke was able to meet lots of his long-lost cousins.

The programme ends with Noel Clarke watching islanders perform an Ghanian song, passed down over countless generations of the Bedeau family, which, as Noel reflects, his forebears would have heard while they were slaves, as they enjoyed one of their rare breaks from work.

It is all very moving and “must-see” TV. You can watch it here for the next 27 days.

* Paul Walter is a Liberal Democrat activist. He is a councillor and one of the Liberal Democrat Voice team. He blogs at Liberal Burblings.

Read more by or more about , or .
This entry was posted in The Arts.
Advert

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

If you are a member of the party, you can have the Lib Dem Logo appear next to your comments to show this. You must be registered for our forum and can then login on this public site with the same username and password.

To have your photo next to your comment please signup your email address with Gravatar.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

*
*
Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?

Advert



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarTony Greaves 24th Sep - 11:44pm
    Good stuff, Mark. Public transport in London is unbelievably good. I know, I use it for part of the week for part of the year....
  • User AvatarKatharine Pindar 24th Sep - 11:41pm
    Martin, how could Britain remain in the Single Market and the Customs Union without accepting the four freedoms? And how stay in the Customs Union...
  • User AvatarNonconformistradical 24th Sep - 11:06pm
    @Roland I don't believe 'being British' - or adhering to the teachings of Christ - has anything to do with it. It's possible to 'do...
  • User AvatarDavid Raw 24th Sep - 11:03pm
    Roland, when you can tell me where Christ forbad the type of change to the law proposed by Vince I'll take your comments seriously.
  • User AvatarTim Hill 24th Sep - 10:43pm
    Paul Barker - It's a gain. The seat was held by Labour. The Labour Cllr resigned. We won. A gain.
  • User AvatarRoland 24th Sep - 10:42pm
    Nonconformistradical & David Raw - You've obviously missed my point, I'll be more precise. Part of being 'British' and thus our modern national identity has...