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Sitting in Limbo: Windrush scandal turns into a TV drama

Sitting in Limbo is based on the true story of Anthony Bryan and his personal struggle of being accepted as a British Citizen, during the Windrush immigration scandal.

Written by Stephen S Thompson, the feature-length film will follow the journey of his brother Bryan, a painter-decorator who is told he can no longer work, before being arrested in his London home, detained for five weeks and booked on a plane to Jamaica, a country he has not visited since 1965 at the age of eight.

Patrick Robinson, who plays Bryan, says: "When I read the script, I was in tears easily halfway through and blubbing at the end, knowing that I wanted to be involved in this piece, because it made me feel."

Anthony Bryan was one of many people affected by the Windrush scandal - who had moved from the Caribbean to the UK, mostly as children, and became victims of the government's so-called "hostile environment" towards immigration.

The government has mentioned more than 160 people may have been wrongly detained or deported and more than 1,270 claims have been made to a compensation scheme.

Bryan had to prove his legal stay in the UK since he arrived in the 60s. The Home Office thought he was lying and because of this, he was detained twice and feared he would next see his family when they visited him in Jamaica.

Only a last-minute intervention by an immigration lawyer in 2017 prevented his deportation.

Bryan was "very stoic" throughout, Thompson says. "He gets to that point where he thinks, OK, well, it must be a mistake. He has quite a lot of faith in - or he had quite a lot of faith in - the system in this country, in this idea of fair play.

"He refuses even till this day to feel embittered, or to take it too personally or to see it as fundamentally an issue of race."

Anthony Bryan was heavily involved when Thompson was working on the script. Bryan and his wife Janet had to open up about the emotions they went through at the time.

Patrick Robinson, who is well-known for playing Ash in the BBC's Casualty, remembers being "outraged" when the scandal was released in 2017. But hopes the TV drama gives viewers a new insight into the personal toll.

"In order to try to understand other people, you just have to imagine yourself in their shoes. And what the film can do is put you there," he said.

Sitting in Limbo will be aired tonight on BBC One at 8:30pm.


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