WHITE TRIBE (2000)
3 x 50 mins, Digibeta
TX Jan 2000
Diverse Productions for C4
Watch the whole series on All4
Three-part series with Darcus Howe travelling all over the UK, searching for remnants of an idealised old England and exploring the confusions and contradictions of modern white English culture.
Nominated for Prix Europa multi-cultural award 2000
Winner Audience Award, Cape Town documentary festival 2000
Shortlisted Grierson Awards 2001
Howe quickly emerged as a conscientious, open-minded observer of the English wilderness, witty and often moving. Englishness is a well-examined concept right now, but compared to these programmes (I've watched the next two on tape and they are even better than the first) Melanie Phillips' and Jeremy Paxman's contributions to the debate are plods. What will keep you watching this series, aside from the sprightly direction that makes light of Howe's lumbering gait, is waiting to hear what conclusions Howe has cumbersomely arrived at. White Tribe benefits from having been made in defiance of the Birtist principle of first write your script: Howe slowly makes up his mind on what he sees, not what his researchers have told him. His judgementalism compares well with the sniggering-behind-the-lens school of sociological television. It is unnerving to hear this big, eloquent black man say how often he is afraid of white England, but it is inspiring to hear him revise his own prejudices.