PREVIEW: Uprising, BBC One

Amidst rising racial tensions, a fire kills 13 young black people at a party. Wayne Haynes and Denise Gooding recount the highs and lows of growing up in South London, as tensions with the police rise and the National Front brings racism to the forefront of local politics.



In the early hours of 18th January 1981, in a house in South London, a birthday party ended in a fire. Thirteen young black British people died. The fire and its aftermath would ignite an uprising by the black British community. Fire - part one of the Uprising series - tells the stories of the young people who were at the party and the events that led up to it.


The series begins by chronicling the build up to the deadly fire in New Cross, South London. It introduces some of the young people who would go to the party as they share their experiences of growing up black and British amidst the escalating tensions and violent racism of the 1970s. Their lives bring them into contact with police harassment, the rise of the National Front and the dramatic confrontation of the ‘battle of Lewisham.’


Sound systems, Lover’s Rock and Reggae music offer an escape to these young people, but when 16 year-old Yvonne Ruddock decides to have a birthday party, it ends in a tragedy with far-reaching consequences.


Uprising begins Tuesday 20th July at 9pm on BBC One.