Last Night's Viewing: Make Bradford British, Channel 4
Our Man in Ibiza, Channel 4

 

If Rashid isn't British, I'm not sure that anyone qualifies. A big, genial ex-rugby league player, he calls an alleyway a "snicket" and says "job's a good'un" when something's gone well. He's about as Bradford as they come – the only awkward detail being that you now have to specify which district of Bradford you're talking about. Channel 4 had chosen one of Britain's most segregated cities for its experiment in multicultural understanding – Make Bradford British – and what it hoped to work out was what common values might unite a citizenry so sharply divided by race and class. It was Big Brother with a social mission – eight pointedly different people invited to share a house and settle their differences, amicably if possible, though obviously a little friction wasn't going to go amiss.

The guinea pigs had been selected from a group of exemplary failures, people who had taken the Government's recently introduced Citizenship Test and flunked (the producers could afford to pick and choose – of 111 original candidates only 11 ruled themselves out by actually passing.) So Maura, a former magistrate and self-styled liberal, turned up to spend a week with Audrey, mixed-race publican, Damon, sheet-metal worker, Jens, the retired policeman, and Rashid, among others. They had all brought their prejudices with them and were encouraged by the organisers to display them rather than keep them to themselves – an invitation over-zealously taken up in some cases.

Intriguingly, the first bust-up was between Rashid and Sabbiyah, both devout Muslims but differing in their interpretation of what true devotion was. Rashid seemed to think that religion was a kind of loyalty-card affair: "A person who prays in congregation gets the reward 25 to 27 times more than a person who prays individually," he explained earnestly. His insistence on popping out to the mosque five times a day to top up his points was soon causing tension, with Sabbiyah getting particularly ratty. To his credit, though, Rashid compromised on his piety when it threatened to disrupt a day trip, settling for a solitary prayer in a car-park instead, a display of religious commitment that made Maura burst into tears.

The programme was never going to solve the problem it set itself. But it did generate some thought-provoking moments, particularly when it came to racial epithets. Audrey stoutly defended her use of the word "Paki" but was then forced to think again after Jens stunned everyone by recalling the collegiate way in which he would invite an Asian colleague to come out for a spot of "Paki-bashing". He also insisted on demonstrating that there was nothing offensive about calling Desmond a "black bastard", provided he accompanied it with a friendly smile and a pat on the back. Jens never quite understood what he'd done wrong, but Audrey did, and suddenly she saw her own name-calling in a different light.

"I'm disgusted with meself," she confessed tearfully. And Desmond, who'd blithely dismissed a lifetime of racist insults in an accent as squarely Yorkshire as Rashid's ("Get it under t'carpet man, put it wi't rest"), acknowledged that there just wasn't any room under the carpet any more. As for definitions of Britishness, I'm not sure anyone came up with anything better than the indignant chap seen thumping a pub table in the opening montage: "I know I'm a British citizen not because I know I'm a British citizen but because I know I'm not anything else".

Another definition might be that you head for the British Consulate when you run into trouble abroad. Channel 4's Our Man in Ibiza followed consular staff on their daily rounds, replacing passports that had been used to scoop up guacamole and assisting those who hadn't quite made it from their fourth-floor balconies into the swimming pool. There must be days when their definition of Britishness is clueless exuberance.

Arts and Entertainment
Just folk: The Unthanks

music
Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne with his Screen Actors Guild award for Best Actor

film
Arts and Entertainment
Rowan Atkinson is bringing out Mr Bean for Comic Relief

TV
Arts and Entertainment

Theatre

Arts and Entertainment
V&A museum in London

Art Piece taken off website amid 'severe security alert'

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Reese Witherspoon starring in 'Wild'

It's hard not to warm to Reese Witherspoon's heroismfilm
Arts and Entertainment
Word up: Robbie Coltrane as dictionary guru Doctor Johnson in the classic sitcom Blackadder the Third
books

Arts and Entertainment
The Oscar nominations are due to be announced today

Oscars 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Hacked off: Maisie Williams in ‘Cyberbully’

Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challenge

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of Everything and Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game are both nominated at the Bafta Film Awards
Arts and Entertainment

Academy criticised after no non-white actors nominated

Arts and Entertainment
Damian Lewis shooting a scene as Henry VIII in Wolf Hall
TV

Arts and Entertainment
A history of violence: ‘Angry, White and Proud’ looked at the rise of far-right groups

tv

An expose of hooliganism masquerading as an ideological battle

Arts and Entertainment

art

Lee Hadwin can't draw when he's awake, but by night he's an artist

Arts and Entertainment

TV

Arts and Entertainment
Michael Keaton in the 1998 Beetlejuice original

film

Arts and Entertainment

TV

Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman and David Tennant star in 'Broadchurch'

TV

Arts and Entertainment
Michael Kitchen plays Christopher Foyle in ITV's 'Foyle's War'

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Downton Abbey star Joanne Froggatt will be starring in Dominic Savage's new BBC drama The Secrets

Arts and Entertainment
Vividly drawn: Timothy Spall in Mike Leigh’s ‘Mr Turner’
film
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

    Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

    One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
    The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

    The enemy within

    People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
    Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

    Autumn/winter menswear 2015

    The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
    'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

    'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

    Army general planning to come out
    Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

    What the six wise men told Tony Blair

    Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
    25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

    25 years of The Independent on Sunday

    The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
    Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

    Smash hit go under the hammer

    It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
    Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

    The geeks who rocked the world

    A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
    Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

    Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

    Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
    America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

    America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

    These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
    A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

    A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

    A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
    Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

    Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

    A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
    Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

    Growing mussels

    Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project