BBC One has ordered Sitting In Limbo, a feature length drama inspired by the Windrush immigration scandal. It is being penned by Stephen S. Thompson and is based on the true story of his brother Anthony Bryan and his personal struggle to be accepted as a British Citizen.
Sitting In Limbo is set in 2016, four years after the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government introduced the Hostile Environment Policy. After living in the UK since he was 8 years old, Anthony decides to visit his elderly mother in Jamaica. He has never held, or needed, a passport before and while filling out the paperwork at the Passport Office he is stunned to discover that there is no record of him as a British Citizen – despite having lived in the country since 1965.
With the onus on him to prove his British status to the Immigration Office, Anthony finds himself stuck in limbo, forced to leave his job and unable to claim benefits. In the early hours of a Sunday morning, Anthony is forcibly removed from his home and detained as an illegal immigrant. The devastation that ensues puts Anthony at the centre of what has now become known as the Windrush scandal. Left Bank Pictures are producing, with Mona Qureshi, Lila Rawlings and Andy Harries serving as the executive producers.
Sitting In Limbo marks Stephen S. Thompson’s first script for television. “Like everyone caught up in the Windrush scandal, Anthony has been severely traumatised by the experience. It has badly affected his confidence and left him questioning his very identity”, he said. “As his brother, I saw what he went through first-hand. I couldn’t bear the idea that he had suffered in vain and it made me determined to tell his story. For me, this is personal.”
“Stephen’s first-hand experience of his brother’s ordeal enables us to tell this story from inside the family; to really understand what it feels like to be betrayed by the country one has called home for over fifty years”, commented Lila Rawlings. “This will be a drama about our modern Britain and is – in many ways – a precursor to where we find ourselves today. The BBC has supported and championed our work on the project from the very first meeting, and we believe it’s the perfect home for the show.”
While the BBC’s Controller of Drama Piers Wenger, who commissioned the BBC’s Director of Content Charlotte Moore, added: “I work very closely with Charlotte Moore to seek out the most compelling and inspiring British real-life stories to tell. Stephen’s script is terrific and we’re honored his first screenplay for TV will be on BBC One. Anthony’s story is incredibly important and one that needs to be told with urgency.”