Reviews and comment from the Demon Crew - creative writers at De Montfort University, Leicester.

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Make Leicester furious

The talk began with a prelude of apologies, and an acceptance that everyone in the room had a bone to pick with the Creative Director; Kieran Smith of Love Productions. Now, I hadn't known the great depth of feeling that the controversial documentary, Make Leicester British had sparked in its viewers, but by the end I was well aware. One woman even succumbed to tears in the Q&A. I think the way Kieran gracefully handled the less than warm welcome was admirable, especially when taking into consideration the event was free. 

We were given insight into the work behind the scenes of the documentary, how long it took to create, and in particular how people were chosen. The people who took part in the documentary were chosen as they seemed to have a capacity to change, and, as the reason for Make Leicester British was to "generate debate", "try to change peoples views and help them learn" - this was obviously important. As Kieran put it, he wanted to portray a "journey of understanding", and I think in many ways he and his team did that. 

Though many in attendance disputed almost everything about the documentary, by the end of the talk I could see that this upset had not been Love Production's, and in particular Kieran's intention. A certain amount of controversy comes with such delicate subjects as immigration, racism and the like. And while Channel 4 may have highlighted these aspects in the name of ratings, I believe it's necessary to have a debate on these topics and, if Make Leicester British sparked this, that's a good thing. 

Laylah Grewal

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