Joe (David Oyelowo) is a teacher with a mission. He's determined to save the black youngsters at his school from a life of gangs, crime and underachievement – whether they like it or not.
But when a seemingly minor incident rapidly escalates out of control and he loses his job, he turns against his own community.
He quickly descends into madness and hits rock bottom, before realising he has a lot to learn about love, understanding and a different way of seeing his world.
Shoot The Messenger was screened to widespread acclaim at New York's prestigious Tribeca Film Festival
*. The 2006 Edinburgh International Film Festival
* is also showing the drama.
The screenplay, by Sharon Foster, is the latest winner of the prestigious Dennis Potter Screenwriting Award, set up in 1995 to nurture and encourage the work of new writers of talent and personal vision.
Jane Tranter, the BBC's Controller of Drama Commissioning, says: "Shoot The Messenger breaks the mould for television writing and is a well-deserving winner of the Dennis Potter Screenwriting Award. I have no doubt that it will prove to be a landmark piece that will speak to a generation of black Britons. BBC TWO is exactly the right place for such a bold and thought-provoking film."
Writer Sharon Foster adds: "Shoot The Messenger is a reflection of debates which are ongoing within the black community, and questions some of the stuff that black communities tell themselves and their children. It's like a fable. Some of it may be uncomfortable for people to hear, but ultimately it's about learning to accept and love people as they are."
Shoot The Messenger is a BBC Films production for BBC TWO. It's produced by Anne Pivcevic and co-produced by Yvonne Isimeme Ibazebo. The director is Ngozi Onwurah (Body Beautiful; Coffee Coloured Children), and the executive producers are David Thompson and Hilary Salmon.
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