The producer of Netflix’s “The Crown” is making “Sitting in Limbo” for the BBC, a feature-length drama about a recent real-life immigration scandal in the U.K. Novelist Stephen S. Thompson is writing, and it is his first TV script.
The Windrush scandal concerns immigrants to Britain, mostly those who came to the country from the Caribbean. Many arrived as children and did not receive paperwork as they traveled on their parents’ passports. They were wrongly deported, detained, or faced the threat of deportation because the authorities said they did not have the correct documents. The scandal led to a public outcry and protests.
Thompson’s story will focus on the true story of his brother Anthony Bryan’s struggle to be accepted as a British citizen. After living in the U.K. since he was 8 years old, he set out to visit his elderly mother in Jamaica. He had never needed a passport before and while filling out the paperwork was stunned to discover that there was no record of him as a British citizen. With the onus on him to prove his status, Bryan was stuck in limbo, and ultimately forcibly removed from his home and held as an illegal immigrant.
“As his brother, I saw what he went through first-hand,” Thompson said. “I couldn’t bear the idea that he had suffered in vain and it made me determined to tell his story. For me, this is personal.”
BBC controller of drama, Piers Wenger, and Charlotte Moore, the pubcaster’s director of content, commissioned the series. “Stephen’s script is terrific and we’re honored his first screenplay for TV will be on BBC One,” Wenger said. “Anthony’s story is incredibly important and one that needs to be told with urgency.”
Lila Rawlings, executive producer for Left Bank, said the 90-minute drama will allow viewers “to really understand what it feels like to be betrayed by the country one has called home for over fifty years.” She added: “This will be a drama about our modern Britain and is – in many ways – a precursor to where we find ourselves today.”
Thompson is repped by Casarotto Ramsay & Associates.