Tuesday, December 02, 2008


Quite by chance I ended up watching the second part of Britz on BBCAmerica last night. Shortly before the end I was pleased to discover that it is being shown On Demand on our cable service so I will be able to watch the show in its entirety. (Though it is being repeated next weekend, it's on during the day when I won't have chance to watch it.) From the BBCAmerica website (where there are even a couple of video clips from the show):
On July 7, 2005 four men strapped explosives to their bodies, walked into the heart of London's transport network and blew themselves up. Fifty-two people were killed, in addition to the bombers - three weeks later, four more men tried to do the same.

None of them were mercenaries or émigrés sent from abroad. No one spotted them, they didn't stand out. They were born, brought up and educated in Britain - Manchester United supporting, iPod owning, dress-like-us, speak-like-us people. They were Brits.

Britz explores how a young intelligent British Muslim could feel so disenfranchised, so powerless and become so angry at their country of birth that they would commit an extreme and despicable act and ultimately it asks how we can ever hope to prevent such an incident re-occurring.

The idea for the films, according to Peter Kosminsky, started with the July 7 bombings. Kosminsky considered telling the personal stories of the July 7 bombers, in the way he had told the story of government scientist David Kelly in The Government Inspector. But in light of his own experience as a second-generation immigrant, he wanted to look more generally at second-generation Muslim disillusionment with Britain (domestic and foreign policy in particular.) "I decided, in discussion with my colleagues, that the best thing was to fictionalize it - to research the way Muslims think and feel at the moment - and then try to create some fictional characters drawing on what we'd learned."
Given my interest in immigration and cross-cultural issues, I found it fascinating, despite what seemed (to me) like some overgeneralizations. Clearly if it were a book there would be more time to develop some of the characters' motivations. Did anyone else see it? What did you think?


Stinking Billy said...

AA, I just called by, as one does every two or three days, and I am gratified to see your poll. While the obvious "Why" question is not posed I would agree that it is none of our bloody damn business. The poll will tell us something, though, if only the bare bones, so, many thanks.

re- "Britz", I am not privy to US TV productions, of course, but for me, you encapsulate perfectly the puzzlement we all felt and still feel, in your second (italicised) paragraph beginnining "None of them were mercenaries" etc. It would be something to get any sort of answer to that!

Almost American said...

Billy - I thought Britz was a BBC production - it won a BAFTA at any rate, so I don't think it's an American show.

I was really annoyed last night to find out it is NOT available On Demand (yet, at least.) I may have to send the children out for a playdate on Sunday afternoon so I can watch it!

Anonymous said...

I saw it and thought it was a brilliant, intelligent drama although you are right in that it did have some over generalizations. Which vantage point did you like best? Both were fascinating, but I much preferred his. Great review!

Almost American said...

I didn't see the first episode and I only saw about two thirds of the second one - hence my hope to see it through On Demand. I suspect I will sympathize with the brother more than the sister, because I didn't feel the sister's motivation was very well explained. Not that I'm convinced I would understand her any better though as I find extremists of any flavor difficult to comprehend. I'd love to see this as a book.

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