Even two weeks ago, Jon Ridley's bleak picture of a racially divided and angry Britain would have felt disarmingly unfamiliar to many of us.
In America, we all know that police brutality and racial tensions are part of the landscape. Horrifying stories of black men being savagely beaten cross the Atlantic through the media and film. But here in our green and pleasant land? Surely not.
Then last week, a picture of a young Asian girl smiling contemptuously at a raging, spitting member of the English Defence League in Birmingham became famous on Twitter. That photograph could have been taken from the first episode of this dramatic real-political drama on Sky Atlantic.
12 Years a Slave screenplay writer Ridley offers us a fictionalised story set in London in 1971. Just because the story isn't true, doesn't mean it isn't based in truth. Just because it's set more than 40 years ago, doesn't mean it can't tell us something about the Britain we live in today. Guerrilla was written and shot months ago... it's almost as though Jon Ridley knows us better than we know ourselves.
Idris Elba on Sky Atlantic
This is the story of those immigrants who found they had to choose whether to be 'citizen or visitor', whilst being neither 'countryman or interloper'. The series follows the story of a young couple, who decide to liberate a political prisoner and go on to form a radical underground cell. Their movement targets the 'black power desk' – a counter-intelligence unit within Special Branch.
Freida Pinto plays an angry young nurse itching to do more to make a change. Babou Ceesay is superb as the mild-mannered and deeply sad political activist. But the stars are Rory Kinnear, as a snake-like copper who pays members of 'the cause' to make trouble, and the ever gorgeous Idris Elba who plays Kent Fue, a second-generation black Briton determined to follow a peaceful and intellectual route to bettering the lives of others who share his roots and status.
This is unmissable, gripping, powerful, dangerous TV that everyone should see.
Guerrilla airs on Sky Atlantic Thursday 13 April but the whole series is also available now.
|What||Guerrilla, Sky Atlantic review|
|Where||Sky Atlantic | MAP|
13 Apr 17 – 30 Jun 17, Times TBD