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Small Island 2 Dec 2009
Small Island
The first wave of Caribbean immigrants to Britain

Andrea Levy’s award-winning novel "Small Island" has been adapted for television. Set against the backdrop of the Second World War, it tells the story of the first wave of Caribbean immigrants to Britain, in a time when landlords would put up signs that read "No Irish, no coloureds, no dogs". Small Island follows the interlocking lives of Londoner Queenie a young Jamaican couple who become her lodgers, Gilbert and Hortense, Queenie's husband Bernard, and the mysterious and handsome Michael. Central to the plot is Queenie’s brief relationship with Michael, a Jamaican RAF officer. She ends up having Michael’s child but fearing people’s attitudes to her baby, asks the black couple to adopt him. So how common was it for that generation of men from the Caribbean to have relationships with white English women? And what were people’s attitudes to these relationships and the children born to them? Jenni is joined by Tony Sewell, a columnist on The Voice and author of 'Keep On Moving: The Windrush Legacy' and by Sharron Hall of Intermix an organisation that gives the news and views of the mixed race experience.

Small Island starts on BBC 1 on Sunday 6th December at 9pm.
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