ENTERTAINMENT
11/05/2021 07:02 BST

Steve McQueen To Follow Success Of Small Axe With Uprising, Another Film Series For BBC

The three-part series will centre around the New Cross fire tragedy in 1981, and the events that followed.

Steve McQueen is to follow his hugely successful Small Axe series with a new project for the BBC.

Last year, the Oscar-winning director and producer helmed five films for BBC One, focussing on the lives of West Indian immigrants in London between the 1960s and 1980s.

It was announced on Tuesday morning that McQueen is to oversee a new three-part film series, titled Uprising, which will explore three major events that took place in 1981. 

BBC/Rogan Productions/Lammas Park/Turbine Studios/John Russo
Steve McQueen, the creator of Small Axe and Uprising

The first of these films – set to air on BBC One later this year – will centre around the New Cross fire tragedy, which killed 13 Black teenagers in January 1981.

Following this will be a film about the Black People’s Day Of Action march, a demonstration six weeks after the New Cross fire which saw 20,000 people protesting to demand justice for the victims of the tragedy and insist that the establishment listen to the Black community.

The final film will centre around the 1981 Brixton riots, with a BBC press release explaining that Uprising will go into detail about “how these three events intertwined [...] and how, in the process, race relations were defined for a generation”.

Mirrorpix via Getty Images
Protesters on the Black People's Day Of Action march in 1981

Steve McQueen has said of Uprising: “It is an honour to make these films with testimonials from the survivors, investigators, activists and representatives of the machinery of state.

“We can only learn if we look at things through the eyes of everyone concerned; the New Cross fire passed into history as a tragic footnote, but that event and its aftermath can now be seen as momentous events in our nation’s history.”

McQueen’s most recent offering, Small Axe, was lauded by critics upon its debut in December 2020, with John Boyega winning a Golden Globe for his role in the film Red, White And Blue.

John Boyega, Shaun Parkes, Letitia Wright, Malachi Kirby and Micheal Ward have all been nominated for TV Baftas for their performances in the anthology series.

The New Cross Fire and the events that followed formed a pivotal part of the fourth film in Small Axe, Alex Wheatle, which starred Sheyi Cole in the title role.