'The New Cross fire', a blaze killed 13 black teenagers at a London house party in a suspected racist attack, which happened on 18 January 1981, ran through Steve McQueen’s Small Axe series of films. Two of them in particular. It was there as a silent counterpart to Lovers Rock, a kind of photographic negative to the communal joy and celebration of that house party, and it was directly depicted in Alex Wheatle, as one of the sparks that ignited the Brixton Riots. In Uprising (BBC One), McQueen and his co-director James Rogan tell the story of the fire and its aftermath in documentary form, over three primetime episodes. It is brilliant and furious and human.
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