Channel 4 tackles race in “Things We Won’t Say” doc

UK broadcaster Channel 4 is to delve into Britain's racial tensions and stereotypes as well as hostilities towards immigrants in the documentary Things We Won't Say About Race That Are True. (Pictured: presenter Trevor Phillips)
March 5, 2015

UK pubcaster Channel 4 is to delve into Britain’s racial tensions and stereotypes as well as hostilities towards immigrants in the documentary Things We Won’t Say About Race That Are True.

The primetime 75-minute doc – a copro between Great British Garden Revival producer Outline Productions and Windrush firm Pepper Productions – is written and presented by Trevor Phillips (pictured), the former chairman of Britain’s Equality and Human Rights Commission who has waged a 30-year campaign to tackle issues around discrimination and equality. In the doc, Phillips argues that though the equality movement achieved some successes, it may also have led to unintended consequences.

Throughout Things We Won’t Say About Race, Phillips confronts “some uncomfortable truths” about racial stereotypes. He asks Nigel Farage – leader of the UK Independence Party (UKIP) - whether attempts to embrace diversity have led to the rise of UKIP, and also talks to Tony Blair about how the work begun by New Labour in support of diversity and equality can be revived.

According to a release issued by Outline Productions, “[Phillips] argues that only more openness, more sophisticated ethnic monitoring and a willingness to talk about the data will help those most in need.”

Things We Won’t Say About Race is to premiere later this month.

“The dividing lines of race, religion and culture are probably the most dangerous flashpoints in Britain today, but they’re also the ones we find hardest to talk about in public,” said Phillips in a statement. “This film points to ways in which we can say what’s on our minds without being accused of being bigots.”

Outline Productions creative director Helen Veale adds: “Trevor has had a unique role in shaping equality legislation in Britain and his views on where we’re heading make for a powerful and challenging film.”

Finally, Channel 4 head of specialist factual David Glover - who commissioned the doc – added: “This film contains some very uncomfortable facts about race. Trevor Phillips now strongly believes that it’s important to get them out there, so ultimately we can understand and tackle them.

“Trevor is arguably the best-qualified person in the country to examine these issues,” he continued. “What’s fascinating is that having thought so deeply about them, he now has a very different approach to the subject than he used to.”

About The Author
Andrew Jeffrey joined Realscreen in 2021 as its news editor. Here, he helps to oversee assignment, reporting and editing for Realscreen's daily newsletter. Prior to his work covering documentary and non-fiction film and TV, he worked as a reporter and associate producer for CBC Edmonton, and as a reporter for The Star Calgary, where he covered daily news on beats such as local and provincial politics, health care and harm reduction, sports and education. His work has appeared in other Canadian news outlets such as TVO, the Edmonton Journal and Avenue Magazine.