The Secret Windrush Files - BBC2

David Olusoga in The Secret Windrush Files
(Image credit: BBC/Uplands Television Limited/Tim Kirby)

In The Secret Windrush Files, David Olusoga delves into history to find the origins of a modern-day scandal

In The Secret Windrush Files, historian David Olusoga pulls no punches in a revelatory film uncovering hidden truths behind the ‘Windrush scandal’.

Personal stories from men and women of the Windrush generation – Caribbean immigrants who arrived in Britain between 1948 and 1971 to help combat the UK labour shortage – reveal their heartache as changes to immigration law led to many being wrongly told they were in the country illegally.

Windrush vetern Allan Wilmot, now 94

Windrush veteran Allan Wilmot, now 94

David talks to people like Anthony Bryan, who arrived here in 1965 on a plane. "I will always remember the bright lights of London as we circled Heathrow Airport," Anthony told TV Times.

"My mum had arrived two years earlier, answering an advert for more workers – she thought she could make more money for the family as a seamstress in the UK.

"I sobbed when she left me with Gran, as I was only six, but I knew she was doing it for a better life and I loved the tins of corned beef and condensed milk she sent us – it was like Christmas!"

What Anthony didn't know was that "the next time I’d be on a plane was 52 years later, being sent back to Jamaica."

David's research also uncovers secret files showing how successive UK governments looked for reasons to stop immigration from the Caribbean, despite knowing the migrants were citizens of the British Empire with full rights to live and work here.

TV Times rating: ****