Politics

This second series, post-Black Lives Matter, is powerful and provocative


The world was very completely different when collection certainly one of allegory-heavy sci-fi drama Noughts + Crosses first aired in March 2020. This was within the earliest weeks of the pandemic – and months earlier than the homicide of George Floyd fuelled Black Lives Matter protests and a protracted overdue reckoning with race, privilege and, within the UK, the poisonous legacy of empire.

With that dialog ongoing, we rejoined Noughts + Crosses for a delayed second collection. In an alternate twenty first century, elite “Crosses” have introduced West African civilisation to “Albion” (aka the UK and Ireland) and its inhabitants of oppressed “Noughts”.

But whereas this flipping of the tables, tailored from Malorie Blackman’s novels – another historical past riff on Romeo and Juliet – had misplaced none of its provocative energy, the true power of Noughts + Crosses continued to be its human tales.

The first of 4 new episodes picked up the story of Sephy (Masali Baduza), the black daughter of a outstanding politician, pregnant by the white Callum (Peaky Blinders’s Jack Rowan). It was love by the racial barricades – and, as in all romances that problem social hierarchies, Sephy and Callum discovered the ruling lessons had deployed all their powers in opposition to them.

Masali Baduza as Sephy Hadley and Jack Rowan as Callum McGregor  (Photo: Mammoth Screen,BBC/Mammoth Screen/Ilze Kitshoff)

Their pursuers included Sephy’s personal father, the influential political Kamal (Paterson Joseph). He appealed to his daughter to terminate the being pregnant in return for Callum going unpunished. Kamal wasn’t simply talking as a dystopian dad. “Crosses are a minority,” he advised associates. “If they [the Noughts] no longer fear us, they will kill us all.”

A proficient solid additionally included Helen Baxendale as Callum’s mom (and Kamal’s former house-keeper). And although Noughts + Crosses couldn’t be accused of subtlety, its portrait of a nightmarish different universe suffused in racism held up a distorted mirror to our personal world – and invited us to mirror on what we noticed staring again.

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