Make LEICESTER British
After the success of Make Bradford British, the team at Channel 4 couldn’t resist a second series and despite a host of new characters and a new location, there is at least one familiar face.
Bradford’s very own, Rashid Khan, star of the first series, will take up a presenting role in the upcoming ‘Make Leicester British’ programmes.
Following on from the original, the concept remains the same, with eight strangers from different cultures and backgrounds all coming together to learn about each other’s cultures.
Leicester’s ethnic makeup has undergone significant changes over the past decade thanks to migration, and the city is now one of the first in the country where Britons are no longer a majority.
Since Make Bradford British was broadcast in 2012, immigration has become an even bigger political issue.
A recent YouGov poll found that immigration is now seen as the ‘most important issue facing the country’ (neck and neck with the economy) and Ukip stormed to victory in last month's European elections on an anti-EU, anti-immigration platform.
Leicester has a reputation as a harmonious city and a model of successful multiculturalism. The series aims to find out what the city can teach the rest of Britain, but it also looks at how integrated the new European migrants are and what has changed in the communities where they have settled.
With the production process still going on, Rashid Khan said he can’t reveal too many details but did say it was good to be back.
“It was overwhelming to be asked back for a second series and I was very excited to hear that there was going to be another,” he said.
“I know there’s been a lot of positive feedback from the public wanting to see what has happened to the original cast but instead this series will focus on people in Leicester which I’m sure will still be very good.
“As with the first one, it is an eye-opener because if you are going to put eight strangers together from different cultures and backgrounds there’s always going to be highs and lows.
“It is not really focussed on religion, more on cultures, upbringings and backgrounds of different people.
“It’s like a Big Brother and Wife Swap put into one.”
As with Make Bradford British, in the first programme everyone will live together in one house, eating together, managing a budget and going on trips together to explore their different senses of what it means to be British.
In the second programme they will be paired up and spend a number of days and nights together - living in one another’s homes and meeting friends and family – to gain a real insight into each others’ lives.
Following the success of Make Bradford British, which won a prestigious international Rose d’Or award, Rashid says he still stays in touch with some of the original stars and explained what he is doing now.
“Since the first series, myself, Damon and Desmond have been going into schools and hosting workshops on diversity and social cohesion,” he said.
“Because we have experienced different cultures from the first series, and by living in Bradford, any misconceptions we had about each others’ lifestyles have been removed.
“By making these links with children and teaching them about the importance of diversity I like to think we are kind of acting like role models for the kids.
“It is really enjoyable and we are always learning as well.”
If you would like the Make Bradford British team to visit your school, youth centre or organisation, you can contact Rashid at rashidkhan13@ hotmail.co.uk