You don’t have to read many headlines or spend much time on social media to see that immigration is a tinderbox issue. Luckily, we had the help of Rahil Ghazni, who’s spent the past decade teaching foreign nationals to pass the Life in the UK test in order to gain British citizenship. His enviable insight into the topic helped form the basis of the script which we then worked with local writer Sarah Daoud to flesh out the concept and characters.
As a topic which is often covered in a reductive and heavy-handed manner we wanted to take an opposing approach, bringing a levity and light humour to the proceedings. Alan Bennett was a touchstone for some of the dialogue, as was Mind Your Language, a 70s BBC sitcom.
Set in the present day, in a fictional city in the UK, the show forms a melting pot of cultures with characters from Ghana, Afghanistan, Bulgaria and India. This meant throwing our casting net broadly to find the right talent, bringing in actors and non-professional talent from far and wide, some of whom had recently passed the citizenship themselves in real life!
Transforming a community centre into a classroom for a shoot, we were also blessed to have a Sikh parade passing through which added a level of energy and vibrancy to the show.
How do you explore the experience of being a foreign national in Britain today?