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14 July 2014
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David Oyelowo as Joe

Wednesday 30th August, 9pm, BBC TWO


David Oyelowo (Spooks) stars in a brave and provocative drama by Sharon Foster (Babyfather).

Shoot The Messenger follows one man's painful journey towards self-discovery. On the way he finds both his own attitudes and the expectations of his community challenged.

  • Read reviews »



  • 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.

    "It's about what it means to Joe - a middle class, professional guy - to be black in 21st century Britain."
    David Oyelowo chats about Shoot The Messenger »
    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."

    "Although negative things are said, many positive things are also in evidence."
    Sharon Foster talks about writing the drama »
    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.

    * The BBC is not responsible for the content of external websites.

    Your Reviews

    David Oyelowo as Joe and Nikki Amuka-Bird as Heather
    What's your verdict on this drama and the issues raised? Have your say »


    Actor Profiles

    David Oyelowo as Joe
    Joe (David Oyelowo*)

    David's best known for playing Danny in three series of the hit spy drama Spooks. His other credits include Tomorrow La Scala!, Derailed, and the upcoming London.


    Nikki Amuka-Bird as Heather
    Heather (Nikki Amuka-Bird*)

    Nikki starred in the BBC's updating of Canterbury Tales in 2003. She appeared alongside Andrew Lincoln in The Man Of Law's Tale. Other roles include The Line Of Beauty, Casualty@Holby City, and the new version of The Omen. Like David Oyelowo she's in 2006's London.


    Charles Mnene as Germal
    Germal (Charles Mnene*)

    Rising star Charles has previously guested in episodes of The Bill*, Holby City, Doctors, and the drama Ahead Of The Class, with Julie Walters, plus several short films and stage productions.


    * The BBC is not responsible for the content of external websites.

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