British Black Miniseries Small Axe to Premier on BBC One
Updated: Apr 29
British filmmaker Steve McQueen has created and directed an anthological miniseries named Small Axe based on real events in British history. The Series will be available this month on 15th November for us British viewers on BBC One and 20th November for Amazon Prime viewers. The Miniseries is split into 5 parts. Mangrove. Lover's Rock. Red, White and Blue. Alex Wheatle. Education. Lets cover what each of these episodes are about and who are they about.
The Mangrove was a Caribbean Restaurant located in Notting Hill West London. Founded in the 1960s by Trinidadian Frank Chrichlow (Portrayed by British Barbadian Shaun Parkes). During the 1960s-1980s, the police would routinely raid the restaurant, seemingly looking for a reason to arrest someone and get the establishment closed down. Eventually in August during the 1970s, the local community would stage a protest demanding "Hands off the Mangrove". This resulted in 9 of the protesters arrested. They became known as the Mangrove 9: Barbara Beese, Rupert Boyce, Frank Crichlow, Rhodan Gordon, Darcus Howe, Anthony Innis, Altheia Jones-LeCointe, Rothwell Kentish and Godfrey Millett. Shaun Parkes who is attached to the role of Frank Chrichlow is best known for his roles in the Mummy Returns as Izzy and in Doctor Who episodes "Impossible Planet" and "Satan Pit" as Zachary Cross Flane. He is joined by British Guyanese actress Leticia Wright as Altheia Jones-LeCointe. Wright is best known in the UK for roles like Chantelle in Top Boy, Vivien Scott in Banana and Cucumber, Anahson in Doctor Who episode "Face the Raven", Renie in Humans and also Black Mirror episode "Black Museum" as Nish. Her most recognisable role would undoubtably be Shuri in the MCU where she debut in the film Black Panther. Darcus Howe is portrayed by British Jamaican Malachi Kirby best known for his minor role as Wayne Ladlow in Eastenders, Gastron in Doctor Who episode "Hell Bent", the remake of Roots as Kunta Kinte and Stripe in the Black Mirror episode "Men Against Fire". British Caribbean actress Rochenda Sandall also appears as Barbara Beese. She is knwon for roles such as Anna in Love, Lies and Records, Nadia in the Martial Arts series Into The Badlands, Pippa 1st AD in Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, Lisa McQueen in Line of Duty and a Sith Fleet Officer in Star Wars: the Rise of Skywalker. We also have Jack Dowden attached to play Ian MacDonald and Alex Jennings as Judge Clarke.
A romantic raggae based episode. Set in the 1980s West London. Two British Caribbeans youths find love at a house party when a free spirit beauty named Martha (portrayed by newcomer Amarah-Jae St. Aubyn) is asked by a dashing and smooth talking Franklyn (portrayed by British Jamaican Michael Ward) if she is "a Rude gal or a Soulie". The events of the episode lead to a story of intertwined relationships against a background of violence, romance and music. Whilst Amarah-Jae St. Aubyn is a newcomer she has had some stage experience in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Michael Ward on the other hand has had plenty of experience best known as Marco in Blue Story, Lykon in the Netflix action film Old Guard and Jaime in Top Boy. Another actor to note for this episode is Kedar William-Stirling who is best known for his role as Junior in the gangster film Shank. He would go on to appear in Wolfblood as Tom Okanawe, Sitafa in the remake of Roots and Jackson Machetti in the tv series Sex Education.
The one all the Star Wars fans wanna see. British Nigerian actor John Boyega stars as Leroy Logan, a former met superintendent. Based on a true story of Leroy Logan who was once an aspiring research scientist who witnessed his father be the victim of a racist assault by two policemen, Logan is ironically motivated against all odds to join the London metropolitan police force hoping to make a change of the prejudiced attitude within the force and among the community victimised by them. Joining Boyega will be British Barbadian actor Steve Toussaint and British Caribbean actress Joy Richardson as Mr and Mrs.Logan the parents of Leroy Logan. Toussaint is best known for role like Nick Austin/Mike Hurley in The Bill, Father Babajide in Skins, Seso in Prince of Persia, Pete Monroe in Banana, King Tushratta in Tut, Roger Mendez in Our Girl and Feekat in Doctor Who episode "Ascension of the Cybermen". Richardson is known for roles such as Gloria Galadima / Rose Adeyemo / Liz Kiwanuka in Doctors, Amaya's Ancestor in Legends of Tomorrow and again multiple roles in Mrs. Lasher / Auntie Grace Esan / Nurse Jackson in Silent Witness. Of course we all know Boyega for his role as Moses in Attack the Block and Finn in Star Wars.
Named and based after the real Alex Wheatle. A British Jamaican writer and novelist. Abandoned by both his Jamaican parents, Wheatle grew up in the care of social services and grew up mostly at Shirley Oaks Children Home. Newcomer Sheyi Cole will portray Alex Wheatle whose story takes a turn during the 1980s, whilst living in Brixton he is arrested for his participation in the 1981 Brixton Riots. During his time in prison his cellmate, named Simeon (portrayed by British Kittian/Nevisian actor Robbie Gee) a supposed Rastafarian who valued the power of knowledge and education so much so he encouraged the young Alex Wheatle into reading which may have been the push Wheatle needed to become the novelist he is today. We ought to mention a certain Khali Best who is slated to play Badger in the episode. Best is known for his role as Dexter Hartman in Eastenders, Mick Haynes in Endeavour, Killy in Blue Story and Khalid in Hate.
Speaking of Education, Simeon was not the only British Black man to value education so highly. Coming of Age story about a 12 year old Kingsley Smith (Portrayed by newcomer Kenyah Sandy) who is enthusiastic about Rockets, Science and Astronomy. However he unfairly singled out and punished for being a troublemaker by the prejudice staff at school. At the same time, his over worked parents Esmond and Agnes Smith (portrayed by Daniel Francis and Sharlene Whyte) are too busy and exhausted to protest against the teachers. It is until a group os West Indian/Caribbean women band together to support Kingsley. Daniel Francis is best known as Pete in Eastenders, Sean Warren in Fast Girls, Sgt Carl Haleford in Homefront and Dr Francis/Baron Samdi in Once Upon a Time. Whyte herself is popular among the youth of the UK during the early 2000s for her role as Social Worker Jenny in The Story of Tracey Beaker and as the teacher Adanna Lawal in the school drama Waterloo Road. Her most recent role is Gill Mendy in We Hunt Together.