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Paul Whitelaw on TV: The Unwanted: The Secret Windrush Files

The Unwanted: The Secret Windrush Files.
The Unwanted: The Secret Windrush Files.

Paul previews a shocking expose of endemic racism in Britain and a documentary about new developments in skin cancer treatment.



Monday, BBC Two, 9pm

Historian David Olusoga traces “70 years of political panic, bad faith and racial prejudice in the corridors of power” in this damning documentary. As every schoolchild knows, the Windrush Generation is the term used for the black migrants who arrived in Britain between 1948 and 1972. Following the introduction of Theresa May’s “hostile environment policy” in 2014, the surviving members faced deportation when they were instructed to prove they lived here legally. A national scandal ensued. Assisted by personal testimonies and access to shocking internal documents, Olusoga reveals how successive British governments have attempted to stop immigration from the Caribbean, despite those migrants being citizens of the British Empire with every right to live and work in the UK.


Monday, BBC Four, 9pm

A Year to Save My Life: George McGavin and Melanoma (copyright BBC)

Last year, scientist and broadcaster George McGavin was diagnosed with the deadliest form of skin cancer. Remarkably, when he received this frightening diagnosis, a new drug had just been licenced by the NHS, one that could potentially save the lives of people afflicted by malignant melanomas. In this moving documentary, the avuncular McGavin provides, with typical scientific inquisitiveness, a study of these pioneering medical developments: “I want to know everything about it and I want to know now.” The good news, as he observes, is that we’ve now reached a stage where people with terminal cancer can survive for decades. He undergoes a painless regime of targeted drug therapy which should give hope to people affected by this illness.


Tuesday, Channel 4, 10pm

In this tender new series, five drag queens embark upon a mission to encourage people, whether straight, gay, male or female, to embrace their inner drag. Wit, warmth and wisdom – the vital three W’s – abound as they oversee a week of rehearsals for a lip-synching dance routine to be performed in front of friends, family and a home crowd. A camp explosion of all-inclusive fun, yes, but at heart this is a sincere, responsible experiment. They meet a gay man who puts his dad forward in the hope of solidifying their bond, a young woman with anxiety, and a stressed mum whose children have behavioural issues. The uplifting results will restore your faith in human nature.


Thursday, BBC Two, 9pm

This series concludes with more sensitive case studies of people struggling to navigate Britain’s increasingly complex and controversial immigration system. It focuses on couples who could potentially be torn apart by a Home Office ruling. Doaa from Egypt has a British husband. She faces deportation as a result of her innocently applying for the wrong type of visa online. Nigerian Onyi is forced to answer an exhausting series of trivial personal questions to prove she loves her husband. It’s like a sinister Orwellian Mr and Mrs. We also meet an exasperated immigration lawyer who admits that he can’t keep up with the ever-changing laws. Required viewing for anyone who thinks our immigration policies are too lax.



Monday, ITV4, 10pm

National Lampoon’s European Vacation (copyright Warner Bros)

This sequel to the far superior National Lampoon’s Vacation could never be mistaken for a comedy classic, but it hits the spot if you’re in the mood for some unabashedly stupid fun. Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo give it their all as a middle-class American married couple attempting to immerse their family within the highly stereotyped charms of European culture. A harmless hillock of nonsense.



Monday 17th, BBC One

Gravesend, Kent is home to one of the UK’s largest Sikh communities. The lower league football team Punjab United is one of its most recent success stories. This slight yet fairly charming documentary followed the team as they went about their grassroots business. It didn’t amount to much, but I’m glad that BBC One still has room in its schedules for minor diversions such as this.


Monday 17th, ITV2

In the unlikely event of civilisation surviving into the next century, I hope remnants of this nano-celeb-based quiz will be shown in schools as a grave warning from history. We must never let Joe Swash happen again. The premise? A bunch of idiots receive pay cheques for doing nothing of any consequence. Imagine a copy of Heat being smacked off a human face forever.